Sculpture in the city and the cemetery : the formation of political identities in Paris and Père Lachaise 1789-1853
During the first half of the Nineteenth Century the dynamic of public commemoration was largely played out in the Parisian cemetery rather than in the capital. Particularly at Père Lachaise, most of the social and political changes of the capital below were mirrored and to a certain degree, the political identities of the living were actively being formulated through the erection of monuments. The purpose of this work is to illustrate, through a number of examples, that dynamic between city and cemetery. Late eighteenth-century legislation and debates evolved to allow a variety of socio-political groups the opportunity of carving out their own spheres of identity and status in the cemetery. Like ideas about death and religious beliefs, previously used as the basis for a collective analysis of funeral monuments, this establishment of socioeconomic and political identities may be perceived as a unifying function for a seemingly disparate group of monuments. During the Restoration, Parisian monuments dedicated to Louis XVI, urban and religious in nature, functioned in direct contrast to the essentially secular, extra-mural and relatively democratic space of Père Lachaise promoting the cemetery as a space for political oppositional groups to identify themselves, illustrated by the monument to the liberal opposition leader General Foy and the tombs of a growing military enclave. Nonetheless the cemetery was also used for the presentation of official identities, illustrated by the monument to Prime Minister Périer, whose iconography can be linked to July Monarchy ideology through comparisons with official Parisian public sculpture. Even more encompassing aspects of identity and appurtenance were reflected in the rising bourgeoisie's establishment of imposing family mausoleums.