Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Model of the so-called 'Temple of Venus' at Baalbek, Lebanon, 'restored', c.1800-1834
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image Image 1 for MR35
image Image 2 for MR35
image Image 3 for MR35
  • image Image 1 for MR35
  • image Image 2 for MR35
  • image Image 3 for MR35

François Fouquet (1787 - 1870), maker

Model of the so-called 'Temple of Venus' at Baalbek, Lebanon, 'restored', c.1800-1834

Plaster of Paris

Height: 30cm
Width: 26cm
Depth: 26cm

Museum number: MR35

Curatorial note

The ancient city of Baalbek (located in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon) has a number of well-preserved temples including this complex and distinctive structure. The most unusual feature of this circular temple is the ‘scalloped’ entablature which differs from more conventional Roman circular peripteral temples such as the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli (see model MR13). Four of the Corinthian columns that support this entablature, at the rear of the Temple, are also unusual in having five-sided bases and capitals. The cella of the Temple was approached through a porch (some modern reconstructions show this with a triangular gable like the porch of a longitudinally planned peripteral temple).

Fouquet has based this very detailed reconstruction on Plates IV-VI, Vol. II, from Louis Cassas’ Voyage pittoresqque de la Syrie, de la Phoenicie, de la Palestine et de la Basse Aegypte which illustrated the unusual features of the structure. Fouquet has even modelled the minute Ionic capitals of the pilasters that flank the aedicules or niches containing statues that adorn the exterior of the Temple’s circular cella. However, the statues adorning the model’s entablature and the pinecone finial surmounting the dome of the Temple seem to be inventions by Fouquet and have no basis in Cassas’ reconstruction or from what we know through archaeological investigation of the building.

The ‘Baroque’ nature of the architecture of this temple was influential during the 18th century, many architects using its unusual and decorative forms in their work.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Sir John Soane purchased the twenty models by François Fouquet in 1834 from the architect Edward Cresy (1792-1858) who, from 1829 to 1835, worked in Paris. Soane paid Cresy the substantial sum of £100 (£10,136.78 in today’s money). It is likely that Cresy purchased the models directly from Fouquet et Fils.

Exhibition history

Wonders of the Ancient World: François Fouquet's Model Masterpieces, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 15 July - 22 November 2011


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk