Design for a Temple of the Earth, from Civil Architecture

Intrigued by celestial and terrestrial globes, Lequeu frequently employed spheres in his designs. This example reinvents the artist’s Temple of Equality (displayed nearby) but takes the earth as its subject. At center would be a “magnificent spectacle of a planetary model . . . Surrounded by the dome’s representation of the celestial firmament.” Lequeu initially submitted the design to the revolutionary authorities in 1794, but his proposal was unsuccessful. In 1819–20, under the Restoration, he recycled the plan for a competition to design a chapel dedicated to St. Louis in Père-Lachaise Cemetery. After it was rejected again, Lequeu included the drawing in his Civil Architecture as a Temple of the Earth.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Design for a Temple of the Earth, from Civil Architecture, 1794
Pen and black ink, brown and gray wash, watercolor
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie