LOUIS PIERRE BALTARD (1764-1846), French architect and engraver, was born in Paris on the 9th of July 1764. He was originally a landscape painter, but in his travels through Italy was so much struck with the beauty of the Italian buildings, that he changed his profession and devoted himself to architecture. In his new occupation he achieved great success, and was selected to prepare the plans for some of the largest public edifices in Paris. His reputation, however, is chiefly based on his great skill in engraving. Among the best known of his plates are the drawings of Paris (Paris et ses monuments, 2 vols. fol., 1803), the engravings for Denon's Egypte, the illustrations of Napoleon's wars (La Colonne de la grande armee), and those contained in the series entitled the Grand prix de l'architecture, which for some time he carried on alone. He also gained distinction as an engraver of portraits. Baltard died in Paris on the 22nd of January 1846.
Two of his children were also architects. Of these the more important was Victor Baltard (1805-1874), who was born in Paris on the 19th of June 1805. In 1803 he gained the prix de Rome at the Ecole des beaux-arts for designing a military school. He was largely instrumental in introducing a regular scheme of fresco decoration by modern artists in the churches of Paris, to take the place of the heterogeneous collections of pictures of all kinds with which their walls had been promiscuously decorated. He built many additions to existing churches, and also the church of St Augustin, in which he united the structural values of stone and steel. His most popular achievement was, however, the building of the central market in Paris. Victor Baltard also built the slaughter houses and the cattle market of La Villette. He died in Paris on the 13th of January 1874, after a life of great activity in his profession.
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