Designs for an Altar and Baptismal Font, from Civil Architecture

Even toward the end of his life, Lequeu continued to pursue opportunities to show his drawings. In 1821, he submitted these two designs to a competition preceding the baptism of the duc de Bordeaux, grandson of the future King Charles X, planned for May at Notre-Dame de Paris. In the freestanding altar at left, the lamb is a symbol of life, while in the font the same animal symbolizes death through sacrifice. Lequeu’s design also connects the water of eternal life and the bloodshed of the “artisan from Nazareth.” The altar’s tympanum is ornamented discreetly with the instruments of the Passion, while the apse above the font is crowned with stags’ heads, evoking Psalm 42: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God."

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Designs for an Altar and Baptismal Font, from Civil Architecture, ca. 1821
Pen and brown and black ink, brown and gray wash, watercolor
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie