From its construction on Catherine de Medici's order in the sixteenth century, Paris' Palais des Tuileries stood on the right bank of the Seine until 1871 when it was destroyed by fire during the Paris Commune. As shown in the present work, over the next ten years the burned and blackened shell of the great palace remained until the French National Assembly voted for the ruins' demolition. The diversity of the crowd in de Montchenu-Lavirotte's composition reflects the debate over the Tuileries' preservation as some members of the leisure class thought it a travesty to destroy an architectural landmark while others viewed it as a symbol of past royal regimes. Though the palace is long gone, visitors to the area today can still see the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel before walking on to Jardin des Tuileries or vising the Louvre.
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