The Opera Garnier is one of the most important buildings in Paris. The eclectic facade is the iconic example of the Second Empire architectonic style and the entire building blends together the expression of the taste of the second half of the XIX Century. We propose you a photographic tour through its exterior details to discover the Opera’s most sensual side.
The construction of the Opera Garnier began in 1861 and lasted until 1875 when it was inaugurated. Before this date, the shows were hold in the Opera Le Peletier, no longer existing, but extensively painted by artists as Degas. It is due to an attack suffered by the Emperor Napoleon III that this new building was commanded in the land decided by the Baron Hausmmann. It was demanded, above all, that the new building would be accessible directly from the residence of the Emperor in the Tuileries Palace, therefor, the Opera Av. was created expressively even if it never served its purpose. The Emperor died before this project was fulfilled.
In southern facade, the one facing the Av. Opera, there are four groups of sculptures: Poetry, Instrumental Music, The Dance, Lyric Drama. All of them are worth paying attention to them. The Dance (Carpeaux), with its nudes is perhaps the most evocative and was at the time the most controversial. Also, the sculptures under the portraits of Bach, Pergolesi, Haydn and Cimarosa are full of sumptuous details and gestures.
The caryatid lamps, made in bronze, are called “The morning star” for those facing East, and “The evening star” for those facing West. The evocative forms of the nude bodies are great subjects for photographing rich and voluptuous textures and lines.
Finally, the golden sculptures that decorate the front and the roof of the building express the alluring ambitions of the new Opera project, isn’t gold the most sensual material? Try photographing with direct sunlight to add volume and contrast to the sculptures and bring you zoom to get better details.