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Jean-Michel Leniaud

(b Paris, March 19, 1807; d Vichy, July 15, 1857).

French architect, designer, architectural historian and restorer. He began his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, but interrupted them to enter the studio of Henri Labrouste. He was among the first of his generation to oppose the hegemony of the Académie and the teaching curriculum based on Greco-Roman tradition. Having become known through the exhibition of several of his projects at the Salon, including a reconstruction (1833) of the Palais des Tuileries as intended by Philibert de L’Orme, and proposed restorations of the Sainte-Chapelle (1835) and the refectory of St Martin-des-Champs (1836), all in Paris, Lassus began his career as an architectural historian, architect and restorer. One of his earliest works was the restoration (1835) of St-Séverin, Paris. In direct contrast with the committed classicists epitomized by Antoine Quatremère de Quincy, Lassus developed a programme based on the assumption that the Early Gothic period produced a rational and functional architecture that marked the high point of national architecture; that later Gothic represented a decline and that the Renaissance introduced foreign and pagan influences; that restoration of Gothic buildings should respect their formal and structural authenticity; and that architects of the 19th century should apply the precepts of Early Gothic in order to find the way towards a new architecture....