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Madeleine

Madeleine (mădˈəlĭn, Fr. mädlĕnˈ) [key] [Fr., = Magdalen, i.e., Mary Magdalen], large church of Paris, in the Place de la Madeleine. It was originally planned by J. A. Gabriel as a part of his layout for the Place de la Concorde, the location being selected so as to close the vista of the Rue Royale. The building was begun in 1764, but construction was halted by the French Revolution. Napoleon I selected Barthélemy Vignon to convert the structure into a Temple of Glory. Vignon worked on the Madeleine from 1807 until his death in 1828, and his successor, J. J. M. Huvé, completed it in 1842. After the Bourbon restoration the building became a church again. Externally it is a peripteral temple (surrounded by one row of columns) of the Roman Corinthian order, with its columns (63 ft/19 m high) surpassing the height of all those of the ancient Greek or Roman temples. The interior contains a vestibule, a nave of three bays covered by domes on pendentives, and a semicircular apse.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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