Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Thomas Jefferson Randolph; by descent to Mrs. James C. Moyer; by loan to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation since 1972
Accession Number: 1972-74
Historical Notes: During Jefferson's stay in Paris, the skyline was dominated by the scaffolding surrounding the nearly completed dome of Soufflot's Ste. Geneviève, which was secularized after the Revolution. Arguably the most important Neoclassical building erected in France during the last half of the eighteenth century, the building is now known as the Panthéon.1 In 1744 Louis XV initiated the construction of a church dedicated to the patron saint of Paris whose prayers once saved the city from Attila the Hun. Soufflot began working on the project in 1755. This engraving by Charpentier was after one of the drawings in a set presented to the king for his approval. As it was built, the project varied from the preliminary design especially in the dome.2
Jefferson owned at least two engravings of the church, and these were framed and glazed for display at Monticello.3
3. Jefferson Memorandum to Bernard Peyton, requesting window glass for print frames, March 7, 1826, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online.