When Victor Hugo died in Paris on May 22, 1885, at the age of 83, the passionate republican and political pamphleteer, champion of the dispossessed, Second Empire exile, and Romantic author of Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and Les Misérables, was given a state funeral. His body lay in state below the Arc de Triomphe before being placed in a hearse for the poor, as he had requested. More than a million people lined the route as the hearse wound its way through the streets of Paris to the Pantheon. In order for Hugo—an outspoken critic of the Church—to be buried in the Pantheon, the government withdrew it from Church control and restored it to its original function as the resting place for national heroes. Étienne Neurdein’s photograph shows the temporary decorations erected for the occasion.


  • Title: Sarcophagus of Victor Hugo in the Pantheon, Paris
  • Creator: Étienne Neurdein
  • Date: 1885
  • Physical Dimensions: w21 x h27.3 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photographs
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by Clinton T. Willour in honor of Malcolm Daniel

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