Saturday, February 12, 2011

La Pompe Du Samaritain

La Pompe du Samarataine, J.B. Raguenet 1756
This is a view of Paris as it never was. This was a painting of the proposed, idealized view of the Seine for a grand project in the time of Henri III. The bridge was built with out the buildings. It still stands, Le Ponte Neuf.
It was the widest bridge over the Seine at the time, built in the Roman style with multiple arches.
The building on piles was built as well, it is the Pompe du Samaritain, which was finally completed in 1670. It consisted of two separate suspended mills with a water tower between them.  The 2 mills put out about 30 HP and supplied water to the fountains all over Paris.
The project was approved and started under Henri IV. The pumps and mills operated until the 1870's, when they were demolished and never replaced. Notice the floating mill in the bridge arches. This of course was a great source of free energy which was exploited in an environmentally clean manner which if was exploited today, with our ever evolving turbine technology could be an exponentially larger source of power than when first built in 1670. The buildings on the Pont Neuf were never built because Henri IV, who in his own right was a grand architect and builder of Paris, thought they would restrict the view of his newly rebuilt Louvre.
The name Samaritain lived on as the name of the Grand Department store that arose on the  right bank in the late 1800's, which still exists, but is closed for the present time.


mud_rake said...

Fascinating proposal, but apparently, the Roman Empire spent too much money on its wars and so the artistic representations were not affordable.

Sound familiar?

microdot said...

I love this painting, it's on my desk top...
The bridge still exists in Paris, but it was not built as the painting represented it. The pump buildings, if you follow the links can be seen as they existed up until the 1870's.
The history of the Ponte Neuf is fascinating. It had its own gallows because the arches under the bridge were a haven for gangs, There was an entire world of cosmetic prosthethis dealers that operated in the neighborhood...think custom made crystal false eyes...and ivory teeth.
There are a few short stories by Balzac in which the bridge plays an important role.
I was in the Samaratain department store many times before it was finally closed a few years ago. It is a magnificent building with a really remarkable rooftop "park" and cafe.

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Microdot,
My internet has been running slow the last few days so I am just getting to respond to this posting. I love this painting too. Thanks for passing it on.

Keep up the good work my friend.