Temple of Divination, from Civil Architecture

An example of Lequeu’s fascination with ritual spaces, this sheet depicts a temple that would have served as the locus for the initiation of ancient Greek priests. A flaming river feeds into the temple, producing the billowing smoke at center, while Y-shaped divining rods, alluding to the mysteries known only to adepts, adorn the pillars flanking the entrance. To counter the sulfurous odor of the river, the sanctuary would emit an aromatic perfume—the recipe for which Lequeu includes—whose sweet vapor evoked dreams.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Temple of Divination, from Civil Architecture, ca. 1798–1802
Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie