Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile


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Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

(ärk də trēôNf` də lātwäl`), imposing triumphal arch in Paris standing on an elevation at the end of the Avenue des Champs Élysées and in the center of the Place de l'Étoile, which is formed by the intersection of 12 radiating avenues. It commemorates the victories of Napoleon I, under whose decree it was built. Construction was begun in 1806 by J. F. ChalgrinChalgrin, Jean François
, 1739–1811, French architect. He studied under Servandoni and in Italy as a winner of the Grand Prix de Rome (1758). He rebuilt (1777) part of the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris. His most influential work was the Church of St.
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 from his own designs and was carried on after his death by L. Goust, J. N. Huyot, and G. A. Blouet successively, who brought the arch to completion in 1836. It is 164 ft (50 m) high, 148 ft (45 m) wide, and 72 ft (22 m) deep, with colossal symbolic groups flanking the arch. The principal sculpture, La Marseillaise, was executed by François RudeRude, François
, 1784–1855, French sculptor. As a Bonapartist, he left Paris after the battle of Waterloo and spent 12 years in Brussels. Rude is best known for his monumental relief on the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, The Departure of the Volunteers,
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. In 1920 the body of an unknown French soldier of World War I was interred beneath the arch, and a perpetual flame was lighted.