ANTOINE, Jacques-Denis
(b. 1733, Paris, d. 19801, Paris)

General view

Hôtel de la Monnaie, Paris

The architect Jacques-Denis Antoine was the winner of the competition in 1768 for the design of the royal mint by the Seine, not far from the Pont Neuf in Paris. Site work began in 1771, but the interiors were not completed until 1785. The complex contains several courtyards, and makes clever use of an irregular site. The main front faces the river, and its château-like appearance represents national prosperity. The central projection is stressed by giant Ionic free-standing columns, but there are no corners emphasized by pavilions. The increased severity is the reduction of storeys and concentration of columns in a single façade level. It is intensified by the unusually pronounced stress on the horizontal, created partly by the new-style attic in place of a pediment. The decorative statues in front of the attic represent personifications of Peace, Commerce, Wisdom, Justice, Strength and Plenty, which is iconographically not just a reference to the function of the building, but also a statement of the state's image of itself.