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DELAGARDETTE, Claude Mathieu. Les ruines de Paestum ou Posidonia, ancienne ville de la grande Grèce: a vingt-deux lieues de Naples dans le golfe de Salerne: Levées..., Paris, Chez l'Auteur, An VII [=1798/9].

The French architect Claude-Matthieu Delagardette (1762-1805) was a pupil of Julien-David Le Roy. In 1791 he won the Prix de Rome scholarship, which enabled him to study at the French Academy of Rome from 1791 to 1793. Due to political tumult, he was forced to flee to Naples in 1793, and to finally return to Paris. He is known for his treatises on the temples of Paestum and on the restauration of the Panthéon pillars in Paris. Among the architectural works attributed to Delagardette are the grave of Mirabeau in Marseille and the amphitheatre of the Medical School of Montpellier.

In the introduction to the present edition, Delagardette states that: “There is nothing more enchanting than publishing one's own observations from one's research... my research has been tiresome, as any drawing or delineation made by a private person and not on behalf of the king was prohibited. Neither the lax measurements made in situ so far, nor the delineations from afar, and the later etching in the ateliers have achieved to render the monuments correctly. My meassurements are completely exact as I was able, thanks to acquaintances and letters of recommendation, accompanied by an English draughtsman and the King's architect, fully equipped with measuring instruments, to come close to the monuments and delineate them. Deeply moved, almost in a state of frenzy, I compared, measured and drew [the ancient temples of Paestum], and I dedicate this treatise of mine to the students of Architecture”.

The plates are preceded by an introductory note on the history of the city and a topographical description, and followed by thorough explanatory texts on each subject.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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