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Arc de Triomphe: Overall three-quarter view
Chalgrin's best-known work is the Arc de Triomphe, begun for Emperor Napoleon in 1806. Completed in 1836 by L. Goust (active 1786-1836), Jean-Nicolas Huyot and Guillaume-Abel Blouet, who significantly altered the design of the attic, the Arc de Triomphe dominates the Place de l'Etoile in Paris and provides a focus for the length of the Champs-Elysées. The most noteworthy contribution to the sculptural programme is François Rude's 'La Marseillaise' (Departure of the Volunteers in 1792). Although it is often considered a sterile imitation of antique triumphal arches, Chalgrin's final design was the result of a progressive shift away from the pure replication of Classical prototypes. Through a systematic process of abstraction, Chalgrin reduced the traditional tripartite scheme of the triumphal arch to a single bay and eliminated all columnar decoration, creating with economical means an image of monumental achievement that captured the spirit of Napoleonic aspirations.