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Panthéon des Grands Hommes: Overall view from front
Early in 1755 Soufflot was appointed to provide plans for Ste Geneviève, the new church promised by Louis XV to house the reliquary of the city's patron saint. A collection of drawings (Paris, Bib. N.) and Claude Boulleau's engraving of 1764 show the building in its 'ideal' state in that year. Built partly over a crypt, where, for the first time, Soufflot used the Doric order of Paestum, it owes its grandeur to his use of the same colossal Corinthian order both inside and out. A heavy pediment emphasizes the dignity of the main entrance; this dominates the vast esplanade planned around the church. From 1791, following a Revolutionary decree, the church was altered into the Panthéon des Grands Hommes. Antoine Quatremère de Quincy had the buttresses demolished and, more crucially, the lower windows blocked up; this radically altered the lighting effects Soufflot had sought to achieve. Having removed the religious sculpture, Quatremère supplied a new programme for decorating the pediments (finally executed by David d'Angers in 1837). Among those buried in its necropolis are Toussaint Louverture, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès and Soufflot, its architect.