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Before the Academy: research trends in the history of French early modern architecture before the age of Louis XIV

Avant l’Académie : perspectives de recherche sur l’architecture moderne française avant le règne de Louis XIV
Vor der Akademie: Forschungsperspektiven der modernen französischen Architektur vor der Herrschaft Ludwigs des XIV
Prima dell’accademia: prospettive di ricerca sull’architettura moderna francese precedente il regno di Luigi XIV
Antes de la Academia: la arquitectura francesa en la temprana Edad Moderna antes de Luis XIV
Sara Galletti
p. 43-65

Résumés

Cet article revient sur les travaux publiés ces vingt dernières années dans le domaine de l’histoire de l’architecture française au début de l’époque moderne, englobant plus de 150 publications. Il porte sur le xvie siècle et la première moitié du xviie siècle, période qui a récemment fait l’objet d’une attention conséquente de la part des chercheurs, tout en demeurant moins populaire, parmi les milieux universitaires et auprès du grand public, que l’époque de Louis XIV. L’auteur identifie au préalable les tendances théoriques qui ont marqué les travaux récents, à savoir d’une part le rejet du modèle historiographique italien ainsi que de l’interprétation de Michelet, qui considérait le Gothique et la Renaissance comme deux cultures opposées et mutuellement exclusives, et d’autre part l’adoption d’une nouvelle vision instable du classicisme. Elle analyse ensuite les trois principaux domaines d’étude auxquels les chercheurs se sont intéressés : l’environnement construit (« les bâtiments »), les agents qui lui ont donné forme (« les individus »), et les moyens d’enseignement et de diffusion des connaissances en architecture au début de l’époque moderne en Europe (« les canaux »).

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1To get a sense of the substantial changes that have taken place in the scholarship of early modern architecture over the past couple of decades, one need only to examine the cover of Christy Anderson’s hot-off-the-press Renaissance Architecture (Anderson, 2013). Featuring a close-up of Chambord’s fairy-tale roof, it counters the enduring habit of presenting Renaissance architecture as essentially Italian in setting and orthodox in language, and it reminds the reader that the buildings produced within and without Europe under the spell of a contemporary fascination with Antiquity were in fact very diverse, deeply imaginative, and more often than not anti-dogmatic. In the introduction to this thought-provoking book, Anderson declares that her goal is to provide “a conscious corrective to the dominance of Italy in existing scholarship” (Anderson, 2013, p. 5).

2A similar trend of conscious emancipation from a number of normative paradigms has been at the core of recent scholarship on French early modern architecture. Emancipation, first, from the Italian historiographic model, which traditionally defined which works were to be considered properly classical and which had been internalized to the paradoxical point that virtually no French sixteenth-century building could avoid being labeled as either backward or mannerist. Second, from the dichotomy of Jules Michelet’s construal of Gothic and Renaissance as opposing, mutually exclusive cultures, a position that, for a long time, has effectively prevented any understanding (let alone appreciation) of the composite built environment of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century France. Third, from the model of classicism formulated by Louis Hautecœur in the Histoire de l’architecture classique en France (Hautecœur, 1943-1957) and validated by Anthony Blunt in his Art and Architecture in France: 1500 to 1700 (Blunt, 1953 [1983]), which read sixteenth- and seventeenth-century production as a long and strenuous preparatory exercise to the rise of a truly French, truly classical architecture under Louis XIV and the Academy. Indeed, a destabilized notion of classicism, such as that provided by Henri Zerner in the conclusion to his L’Art de la Renaissance en France : l’invention du classicisme (Zerner, 1996, p. 386-389), seems to have provided scholars not only with a fresh approach to the varied panorama of pre-academic classicizing architecture but also, judging by the vast number of works published in the past fifteen to twenty years, with a renewed eagerness to do so.

3A second, and largely complementary, phenomenon has significantly shaped the same literature: a shift of perspective from the Franco-Italian relation to a European panorama of early modern architecture. This shift was first inspired by annual the meetings organized by André Chastel and Jean Guillaume at the Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance (CESR, Tours) beginning in 1972 (and continued since 2003 in the Rencontres d’architecture européenne directed by Monique Chatenet and Claude Mignot), which have gathered historians from across the European board around a variety of thematic issues in an effort to produce what Guillaume has called a “polycentric history of Renaissance architecture” (Guillaume, 2008, § 21). The opening of this European perspective has not only affected the study of those aspects of architectural history that imply a transnational approach – such as the modes of transfer of printed and drawn architectures, a theme that has garnered much attention recently – but has also permeated the way in which historians consider phenomena that previously might have been thought of as being “purely French,” such as the Renaissance-Gothic religious buildings of the kind exemplified by Saint-Eustache in Paris. Whether Chastel and his followers ever intended or foresaw this effect, the amount of new scholarship suggests that the European lens has led historians of the French early modern to start looking at old things in new, exciting ways.

4Two factors appear as unchanged in this renewed panorama. The first is the tendency of scholarship to largely focus on typological studies and monographs of buildings while giving comparatively less attention to architects, both as individuals and as a professional community. In this, Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos’s claim that the history of early modern French architecture is a history of “great authors without works and great works without authors” holds at least partially true to this day (Pérouse de Montclos, 2000a, p. 14). While many monographs of architects have been published in recent years, several key figures from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are still waiting for a comprehensive study – Pierre Lescot, Jean Bullant, and Pierre Le Muet, to name just a few. The second is the fact that, since Blunt’s Art and Architecture in France, only two volumes have attempted to offer an overall reassessment of the period: Pérouse de Montclos’s Histoire de l’architecture française : de la Renaissance à la Révolution (Pérouse de Montclos, 1989) and the more recent (but only available in Italian) Variazioni sul classico: l’architettura francese dal Rinascimento alla Rivoluzione by Luigi Gallo (Gallo, 2000). Indeed, attempting a general history of the period in the absence of monographic studies dedicated to some of its main protagonists might seem a thankless, and somewhat precarious, task. After all, as Mignot has worded it, “a history of architecture devoid of names and of the works of individual architects is an empty history” (Mignot, 2006, p. 633).

5These factors seem to affect another phenomenon that characterizes current scholarship of early modern French architecture. A field that originally was the domain of non-French scholars – Heinrich von Geymüller, Reginald Blomfield, Anthony Blunt, and their students – is nowadays only represented in the English-speaking scholarly world in relation to the late part of the early modern spectrum, including the reign of Louis XIV, the Académie, and the eighteenth century. The early end of the same spectrum – the architecture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries preceding the reign of Louis XIV that is the focus of the present article – has become virtually a non-topic in Anglo-Saxon academia; scholars of the subject can be counted on the fingers of one hand, as can graduate students of course. This is, at least partially, a combined function of the publishing market and the tenure process. Academic environments that are still recovering from the wave of critical theory in the 1980s and from the attendant forms of mistrust (if not disdain) for the monograph as a genre are not particularly encouraging toward those who work in a field that is still largely monograph-oriented and in which archives are a goldmine still to be exploited.

Buildings

6That a building’s monograph does not have to be “traditional” – often used in academia as a synonym for “boring” or “useless” – is largely proven by the many recent publications that focus on single buildings not in order to isolate them as if under the lens of a microscope but, on the contrary, in view of exploring the wide variety of broader issues that buildings, as powerfully transformative objects, raise when considered in their environment – spatial, social, political, and economic. An example of this is certainly Hilary Ballon’s Louis Le Vau: Mazarin’s Collège, Colbert’s Revenge (Ballon, 1999), in which the history of the conception and construction of the Collège des Quatre Nations (currently the Institut de France) functions as the starting point for a wide-ranging inquiry touching upon a number of subjects. Among these are Jules Mazarin’s political aims within the context of the monarchy’s effort to reform education for the nobility and to promote the unity of Church and State (Chapter 1, “Mazarin’s Bequest”); the urban significance of a project set in one of Paris’s most magnificent sites at a time when the city, and its banks in particular, were undergoing a series of extraordinary changes (Chapter 2, “Architecture and Imagery: the New Rome”); the cultural world of Louis Le Vau (Chapter 3, “Le Vau’s Library”); and the architect’s ill-fated entrepreneurial ambitions in the war industry, which ended up ruining both his finances and his relations with Jean-Baptiste Colbert (Chapter 4 “Charges of Embezzlement”). Using the Collège as a case study, the book thus opens up a range of questions about some of the major political figures of seventeenth-century­ France, about the role of the architect in Le Vau’s time, and, more generally, about architecture and the public sphere.

7A second type of non-traditional approach to the monograph that has gained ground in recent years is the multi-authored, multi-disciplinary volume. The most recent example is the catalogue of an exhibition held at the château of Richelieu in 2011, Richelieu à Richelieu : architecture et décors d’un château disparu (Richelieu à Richelieu, 2011), which brings together the contributions of more than twenty authors from a variety of art-historical specialties, from architecture and landscape architecture to tapestry, sculpture, painting, and print. The result is a book that provides the reader with a vivid picture of the château of Richelieu in its own time and context as well as of the variety of meanings it carried for both its creators and its viewers. Almost a third of the works cited in the bibliography accompanying this article consists of multi-authored volumes, in the form of exhibition catalogues, conference proceedings, or multi-disciplinary research conducted by groups of two or more authors. This is a powerful indication of the fact that, behind the old format of the monograph, readers find new kinds of research approaches and methodologies.

8The overwhelming majority of monographs published in the past two decades are dedicated to residential architectures, with the château leading ahead of the urban forms of both hôtel and palais. More than two dozen volumes on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century residential buildings have appeared in the past five years alone, along with a vast number of essays and articles. Several of these focus on the period’s icons, including Vaux-le-Vicomte (Pérouse de Montclos, 1997b), Fontainebleau (Blécon, Boudon, Grodecki, 1998; Pérouse de Montclos, 1998; Blécon, Boudon, 2005), the Louvre (Gargiani, 1998), Chambord (Chatenet, 2001), Chenonceau (Babelon, 2002), Amboise (Babelon, 2004), Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Lurin, 2010), the Tuileries (Fonkenell, 2010), and the Luxembourg Palace (Galletti, 2012). In some cases, the studies provide long-awaited new comprehensive analyses, as in the case of Chambord, or fill major gaps in the literature, as in the case of Chenonceau, which had not been the subject of a scholarly study since the nineteenth century. Other works focus on buildings less known by the general public but crucial to the history of French architecture, such as the hôtels Jacques Cœur (Favière, 1992) and Coquet (Mignot, 2007) and the châteaux of Oiron (Didier, Guillaume, Martin, 2000), Maulnes (Chatenet, Henrion, 2004; Pieper, 2006; Pieper, 2007; Barnoud, 2011), Cormatin (Berrada, 2005; Mignot, 2010), Pont-en-Champagne (Mignot, 2005), Bonnivet (Guillaume, 2006), Tilly (Pagazani, 2012), Gaillon (Bardati, 2009), Ancy-le-Franc (Barbet-Massin, Frommel, 2010), and Assier (Prunet-Tricaud, Guillaume, 2013). Guillaume Fonkenell’s Le Palais des Tuileries (Fonkenell, 2010), for instance, is the first monograph dedicated to the iconic residence commissioned by Catherine de’ Medici to Philibert Delorme since Louis Hautecœur’s Le Louvre et les Tuileries (Hautecœur, 1924). In a beautifully produced volume, Fonkenell compiles several years of research and archeological findings and traces the complex history of the building, its different functions, and its shifting political meanings across four centuries. The author’s decision to limit the scope of the book to the palace itself while leaving out the garden and the Louvre, a choice that has been criticized elsewhere (Soubigou, 2011), seems to this reader perfectly in line with the substantial historical problems raised by the Tuileries. Not only, as Fonkenell states in his introduction, do the Tuileries garden and the Louvre-Tuileries nexus deserve their own, separate treatment, but also the architecture of the palace alone is enough of an enigma, particularly in terms of the phases of its conception and construction (one should not forget that competing hypotheses about its original layout are still a matter of debate) to fully justify the exclusive attention they receive in this study. The history of the château of Maulnes is equally complex, as revealed by two excellent recent volumes: the collection of essays Maulnes : archéologie d’un château de la Renaissance (Chatenet, Henrion, 2004) and Jan Pieper’s extensive monograph Maulnes-en-Tonnerrois. Ein Konstrukt aus dem Geiste des Manierismus: Architektur der Skepsis, des Glaubens, der Ziviltoleranz (Pieper, 2007). Known mostly through the engravings published by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau in Les Plus excellents bâtiments de France (1576-1579), this eccentric pentagonal building was largely ignored by historians and the general public alike until 1997, when the Conseil général de l’Yonne launched a long-overdue restoration campaign. The volume curated by Monique Chatenet and Fabrice Henrion collects the results of the research by specialists in the fields of history, art history, and archaeology conducted in conjunction with the restoration. The book not only provides readers with the first comprehensive portrait of Maulnes and its history but also with compelling analyses of the broader issues the château raises, including authorship and patronage and their role in the definition of the final design, function, and intended use of the building. These concerns shed light on some of the structure’s most striking features – such as the vast appartement des bains, the Raumplan-like arrangement of its interior, in which the distribution of the rooms follows the upward movement of the staircase, or the contrast between the stark geometry of the plan and the understatement of its elevations – as well as its connections to contemporary architectural landscape. Pieper’s Maulnes also focuses on the material aspects of the château and its history, but it is profoundly different in both scope and concept from the volume curated by Chatenet and Henrion. In this painstakingly detailed 654-page study, Pieper engages with the German iconographical tradition and turns Maulnes into a gateway for a wide-ranging discussion of late sixteenth-century French culture at large. Focusing on issues as varied as religious violence, antiquarianism, or the traditional periodization of French art, Pieper sets Maulnes in a new context while at the same time challenging several of the field’s methodological paradigms.

  • 1  As Guillaume pointed out in his 1996 review (Guillaume, 1996), Jean-Claude Le Guillou’s Azay-le-Ri (...)

9Many gaps still exist, of course, even in this bounty of new monographic studies: the château of Azay-le-Rideau, for instance, built in 1518-1528 by an unknown architect and featuring an extraordinary example of early classicizing decoration in its avant-corps, has not yet been the subject of a scholarly study, and the same is true of the château of Anet, built by Philibert Delorme for Diane de Poitiers.1 Anet is currently the focus of a joint initiative of a group of art historians, involving scholars from a variety of disciplines, that aims at producing a new study of the château, possibly on the model of the above-mentioned Richelieu à Richelieu (Richelieu à Richelieu, 2011). Two forthcoming works on the Louvre are also impatiently awaited: a monograph by Guillaume focusing on the sixteenth-century buildings, including the Tuileries (Éditions Picard), and a collection of essays that will span several centuries and include a history of the museum (Musée du Louvre). Indeed, while Roberto Gargiani’s Idea e costruzione del Louvre: Parigi cruciale nella storia dell’architettura moderna europea (Gargiani, 1998) is an excellent work, it is little accessible to a non-Italian public and has been rendered partially outdated by recent research conducted by Alexandre Cojannot, Julie Degageux, Guillaume Fonkenell, and Kristina Deutsch, among others.

10Alexandre Gady’s survey of the Parisian hôtelLes Hôtels particuliers de Paris : du Moyen Âge à la Belle Époque (Gady, [2008] 2011), followed by an exhibition held at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine (Hôtel particulier, 2011-2012) – is particularly welcome in the context of this abundant output. Beautifully written and illustrated, the book brings the reader through the long history of this French type, from the late Middle Ages to the early decades of the twentieth century. Gady inventories almost three hundred Parisian hôtels, many of which have disappeared or been disfigured by ill-conceived renovations, and organizes his material according to themes – the typology of the hôtel, its relation to the city, its architectural and decorative traits, the layout and distribution of its interiors – that provide the expert as well as the lay reader with both a broad, contextualized perspective and the detailed, specialized analysis of particular cases and features. L’Hôtel particulier also points to the growing trend of making architecture accessible to a wider audience through exhibitions, as has been the case for the oeuvre of du Cerceau (Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, 2010), Vauban (Vauban, 2007), and Jules Hardouin-Mansart (Bâtir pour le roi, 2009). Helping an uninitiated audience appreciate architecture, especially when it is no longer extant, implies finding user-friendly ways to represent it, which is why all of these exhibitions have, to varying extents, employed three-dimensional models, often of the virtual sort. Digital modeling has also entered the world of printed books, as is the case for Fonkenell’s monograph dedicated to the Tuileries Palace (Fonkenell, 2010), and it is a form of illustration no doubt bound to quickly grow in the future.

11Gady’s work on the hôtel underscores the need for a new survey on the château: Jean-Pierre Babelon’s excellent Le Château en France (Babelon, 1986) and Châteaux de France au siècle de la Renaissance (Babelon, 1989) are now outdated, while Pérouse de Montclos’s more recent Les Châteaux du Val de Loire (Pérouse de Montclos, 1997a), in addition to being limited to the buildings of the Loire region, targets the general, rather than the scholarly, public.

12Among studies dedicated to residential buildings, those focusing on galleries have become a niche of their own. In the wake of Guillaume’s seminal article on the location and function of galleries in the French château (Guillaume, 1993), a special issue of the Bulletin monumental was dedicated to Parisian galleries from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century (Chatenet, 2008), and two volumes of collected essays were published that explore the architectural, decorative, and social aspects of galleries with a comparative perspective across early modern Europe: Les Grandes galeries européennes, xviie-xixe siècles (Constans, Da Vinha, 2010) and Europäische Galeriebauten: Galleries in a Comparative European Perspective (1400-1800) (Strunck, Kieven, 2010).

13Worth mentioning for both its excellent quality and the novelty of its approach is Meredith Martin’s study of the architecture of pleasure dairies, Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de’ Medici to Marie-Antoinette (Martin, 2011). Focusing on a building type typically frowned upon as frivolous, Martin’s book covers the pastoral buildings commissioned by queens and royal mistresses over the span of two hundred years, from Catherine de’ Medici’s dairy at Fontainebleau to Marie-Antoinette’s Hameau at Versailles, exploring how these buildings embodied existing architectural and decorative trends, as well as how they engaged with the political and cultural contexts of their time.

14Sacred buildings have received relatively little attention. Mignot’s Le Val-de-Grâce : l’ermitage d’une reine (Mignot, 1994), Hélène Rousteau-Chambon’s Le Gothique des temps modernes : architecture religieuse en milieu urbain (Rousteau-Chambon, 2003), which explores the permanence of Gothic in “classical” times, and Anne-Marie Sankovitch’s forthcoming study of Saint-Eustache (Brepols) are to this day the only monographs dedicated to religious architecture. This imbalance does not reflect the built environment: scores of sacred buildings were constructed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and secular as well as sacred architecture was affected by the destructions of the French Revolution (not to mention that many books have been published on royal residences that no longer exist). Rather, it is the hybrid style of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century religious architecture – “neither Romanesque, Gothic, Flamboyant nor Italian Renaissance” (Sankovitch, 1995, p. 173) – that made it unfit for old art-historical categories. Yet the number of monographs does not reflect the rise of interest that scholars have recently shown for sacred architecture. The topic was first broached in a comparative European perspective in the 1990 and 1996 CESR meetings (Guillaume, 1995, 2005a), then again in the 2005 edition of the Rencontres d’architecture européenne (Chatenet, Mignot, 2009); it is the focus of a forthcoming volume on female orders (Lecomte, 2013) and of three recently published, excellent works: Mathieu Lours’s L’Autre temps des cathédrales : du concile de Trente à la Révolution française (Lours, 2010b), Julien Noblet’s En perpétuelle mémoire : collégiales castrales et saintes-chapelles à vocation funéraire en France (1450-1560) (Noblet, 2009a) and, by the same author, Sanctuaires dynastiques ligériens : l’exemple des collégiales castrales et saintes-chapelles (1450-1560) (Noblet, 2009b). L’Autre temps des cathédrales is the first comprehensive exploration of the changes, both liturgical and architectural, that French cathedrals underwent between the late sixteenth and the late eighteenth century following the Reformation and the Council of Trent. Lours analyzes a vast corpus of about 140 buildings that differ widely as to their layout, their architectural and decorative features, and their internal organization, but which were all under pressure to reflect changes in their liturgical function and symbolic significance. This abundant, and abundantly illustrated, material is organized chronologically in four parts that start with a panorama of the topic at hand and its defining features in “Les temples de la permanence,” followed by the analysis of the slow and small changes that occurred in the immediate post-Reformation period (1560-1685) and a discussion of the agents of such resistance to change (“Les cathédrales à l’épreuve de la modernité”). The third and fourth parts, “À l’heure des ‘travaux et embellissements’ (1685-1790)” and “Une mutation accomplie?,” focus on the central subject of the author’s study: the new layout of choirs, the systematic dismantling of rood screens, the performance of new rituals, their spiritual connotations, and the agents of change that radically transformed French cathedrals in the century preceding the Revolution. Noblet’s En perpétuelle mémoire, focusing on funerary chapels and churches in France between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is similar to Lours’s in method. The book analyzes twenty-five buildings chosen on the basis of their liturgical function and their symbolic meaning rather than for their outward stylistic features. This does not mean that their architectural and decorative qualities are neglected or given a secondary role: on the contrary, Noblet’s investigation of how the works of different artists, including architects, sculptors, goldsmiths, painters, and stained-glass painters, contributed to the definition of these spaces is fascinating and compelling. The same is true for Noblet’s attention to the varied stylistic expressions – sometimes driven by a new fascination with a classicizing language, other times by the opposite choice of adopting more traditional modes of expression – of buildings that were invariably highly charged with both spiritual and dynastic meaning. The clear structure of the book helps the reader navigate the many facets of a rich topic, from the socio-political nature of the chapels’ patronage, to the spiritual communities that orbited around them, to their topographical distribution and the spatial relations they established with the seigniorial residence.

15The literature on public buildings is virtually non-existent, with the exception of studies by Laurent Lecomte, Pascal Liévaux, Aurélie Perraut, and Christiane Roussel on governmental, educational, and mercantile structures within and without the Parisian region published in Public Buildings in Early Modern Europe (Lecomte, 2010; Liévaux, 2010; Perraut, 2010; Roussel, 2010). As most of these authors are in the early stages of their career, one can only expect more publications to come on this particular area of the field.

16A direct consequence of the current understanding of Renaissance classicism as a polycentric phenomenon has been the rise of interest for the architecture of the so-called provinces – that is, located outside the traditional areas of interest of the Île-de-France and Val de Loire regions. A number of works have been recently dedicated to the architecture of Brittany, Normandy, Burgundy, Franche-Comté, and Aquitaine, among others, in some cases with a city-specific focus – Lyon (Furone, Iacono, 1999), Dijon (Gulczynski, 2000), Toulouse (Costa, 2000, 2001, 2003), Saumur (Cron, Bureau, 2010), and Tours (Tours 1500, 2012) – or a regional concentration – the châteaux of Périgord (Bolard, 1996), the urban residences of Trégor (Leloup, 1996), Brittany’s country houses (Chatenet, Mignot, 1999), or, more broadly, the Renaissance architecture of Normandy (Beck, 2003) and Franche-Comté (Jacquemart, 2007). These works destabilize not only the notion that classicism would have percolated from a few centers out to the peripheries of France but also the overemphasis on the court as the main source of architectural novelty – both of which are based on the outdated construal of “center” and “periphery” as unambiguous, dichotomous opposites. Both Bernard Beck’s L’Architecture de la Renaissance en Normandie (Beck, 2003) and Jean-Pierre Jacquemart’s Architectures comtoises de la Renaissance : 1525-1636 (Jacquemart, 2007) are conceived as reference works providing catalogues of the architectures built during the Renaissance in the respective regions of interest, as well as comprehensive analyses of the distinctive traits of those works and of the networks of patrons and artists that commissioned and realized them. The two volumes edited by Beck include the essays of a variety of specialists focusing on topics as diverse as the planning of Le Havre, the use of classicizing elements in the Grosse Tour of Gisors), the migration of decorative models from the printed to the built environment, and foreign travelers’ perception of Norman architectures. Jacquemart’s volume is organized chronologically, from “La première Renaissance comtoise” in the first section to “Tentations maniéristes et pré-classicisme” in the fourth and last one. These titles somewhat misrepresent the content of a book which is not only (indeed, not mainly) about style; it engages instead with a variety of themes, from the complex historical and political background of the border region of Franche-Comté, a crossroads between the south and the north of Europe, to the dynamism of its artists and patrons and the resulting hybrid character of its architecture, providing a paramount example of Renaissance polycentrism.

17Much attention has been given, of course, to the decorative aspects of architecture, in particular the perennial topic of the classical orders, as well as, more recently, to the broader issue of the hybrid decorative motifs of the early French Renaissance. The literature on architectural orders, their assimilation, and their interpretation in early modern France is vast, but it has an unquestioned authority in Yves Pauwels, who has published several articles and essays on the subject as well as two recent surveys: L’Architecture au temps de la Pléiade (Pauwels, 2002) and Aux marges de la règle : essai sur les ordres d’architecture à la Renaissance (Pauwels, 2008c). Both books provide fundamental analyses of the classical orders as employed by the masters of the French Renaissance, from Pierre Lescot to Philibert Delorme, Jean Bullant, and Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, and constitute a reference for any scholar wishing to venture in the subject. Yet both volumes are more ambitious: Pauwels’s main interest is in exploring the relations between the architectural and the literary milieus of sixteenth-century France – that is, between the above-mentioned architects and the Pléiade poets Joachim du Bellay, Thomas Sébillet, and Pierre Ronsard. The author sees these relations embodied in the shared interest the two groups showed for the classical heritage, in their common goals – i.e. the promotion of a national language – and in the similarities of the rhetorical instruments and methods they employed. Pauwels’s analyses are compelling, and they engage with a number of works that, in recent years, have explored the interplay between architecture and language, such as Architecture and Language: Constructing Identity in European Architecture, c. 1000-c. 1650, edited by Georgia Clarke and Paul Crossley (Clarke, Crossley, 2000), Alina Payne’s The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance: Architectural Invention, Ornament, and Literary Culture (Payne, 1999), and David Cowling’s Building the Text: Architecture as Metaphor in Late Medieval and Early Modern France (Cowling, 1998). Pauwels’s books also share certain flaws with this body of literature, in particular an exclusive focus on the decorative aspects of architecture – a practice that otherwise does not easily lend itself to comparisons with language – and an overemphasis on printed theoretical sources to the detriment of other modes of transmission of architectural knowledge.

18Worth mentioning in this section is also Monika Melters’s Die Kolossalordnung: Zum Palastbau in Italien und Frankreich zwischen 1420 und 1670 (Melters, 2008), which, by focusing on built rather than printed architecture and by adopting a transnational comparative approach that employs the giant order as a case study, has the merit of leading the discussion about French uses of the classical orders outside the confines of both treatises and national boundaries.

19The hybrid nature of decorative forms of late fifteenth- and sixteenth-century French architecture has been one of the central themes of Guillaume’s research throughout his career, and one that he has addressed in many essays, the most recent of which are “Les frontières de la Renaissance” (Guillaume, 2008) and “Le temps des expériences. La réception des formes ‘à l’antique’ dans les premières années de la Renaissance française” (Guillaume, 2003). It is in its relationship to Gothic rather than Italian or ancient models that this particular area of study has flourished the most in the past decade, comprising two volumes of collected essays, Du Gothique à la Renaissance : architecture et décor en France, 1470-1550 (Esquieu, 2003) and Le Gothique de la Renaissance (Chatenet, 2011), and Ethan M. Kavaler’s Renaissance Gothic: The Authority of Ornament, 1470-1540 (Kavaler, 2012). Kavaler’s book is the first extensive exploration of late Gothic architectural forms and decorative motifs from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. It encompasses micro- as well as macro-architectures, vaulting patterns as well as window tracery, fonts, and organ lofts, and it covers northern and southern Europe, England and France of course, but also Poland and Spain. Beautifully written and illustrated, the book is structured according to five thematic chapters – “Ornament and Aesthetics,” “Flamboyant Forms,” “Microarchitecture,” “Natural Forms,” and “Deconstruction and Hybridity” – preceded by a generous introduction dealing with the complex historiography of late Gothic architecture. Renaissance Gothic is not simply a reevaluation of a style traditionally underrated as intermediary between its illustrious neighbors, High Gothic and Renaissance; it is also a book that in many ways will impose on scholars of both High Gothic and Renaissance a reassessment of their own periods of interest.

20As the vast majority of the literature dedicated to architectural ornament centers on carved, sculpted, or shaped elements, it seems important to signal here two essays that focus on the virtually unexplored theme of painted architecture: Bernard Voinchet’s “La couleur et la brique : les exemples du Sud-Ouest de la France et de Saint-Germain-en-Laye” (Voinchet, 2002), focusing on brick building and its dependence on painting, and Jacques Moulin’s “Quand les châteaux étaient peints” (Moulin, 2002), which explores the many and varied surface treatments of an architectural production, that of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France, often misunderstood as being of bare stone only.

21Interdisciplinary approaches bridging architectural and social history also have been an area of significant growth within the field. First explored in the 1988 CESR meeting Architecture et vie sociale (Guillaume, 1994), questions related to the social existence of buildings, with regard to a variety of aspects ranging from rituals of church and state to daily life at court and elsewhere, have become common currency for French architectural history of the past decade; suffice it to say that the large majority of recent monographs dedicated to buildings include a chapter on distribution. These studies concentrated first on residential buildings, especially châteaux and country houses. Mark Girouard’s Life in the French Country House (Girouard, 2000) explores a multitude of country residences ranging in time from the fourteenth to the twentieth century and in status from petit bourgeoisie to nobility, investigating both “upstairs” and “downstairs” lifestyles as well architectural and technical trends and developments. Chatenet’s research has focused on the sixteenth-century Valois courts, to which she has dedicated numerous essays and the survey La Cour de France au xvie siècle : vie sociale et architecture (Chatenet, 2002). While interdisciplinarity was being bandied around as the academic buzzword of choice, and one often abusively used to describe projects whose originality or significance falls short of their attractive packaging, Chatenet was producing a truly interdisciplinary, truly innovative book. La Cour de France is an engrossing exploration of space and its uses – an area traditionally overlooked by architectural historians (who tend to focus on more style-oriented topics) and social historians (who tend to stay clear of the specificities of architectural solutions). The first half of the book explores the life of the court: its members, its ceremonial rules and their evolution, its daily routines, its rituals, and its celebrations. In the second half, Chatenet shifts her attention from the actors to the scenery and explores the variety of buildings in which the court lived its peripatetic life – palais, châteaux de plaisance, hunting lodges, etc. – and how these adapted to and shaped the functions they were required to accommodate. Based largely on the testimonies of courtiers and foreign diplomats, Chatenet’s is one of the liveliest accounts of architecture and its inhabitants published in recent years, one in which the reader’s experience of the late Valois courts is quasi cinematic.

22Two recent volumes of collected essays have expanded this domain of exploration to religious structures: Cathédrale et pèlerinage aux époques médiévale et moderne : reliques, processions et dévotions à l’église-mère du diocèse (Vincent, Pycke, 2010), with essays by Mathieu Lours, Bruno Maes, and Philippe Martin on reliquaries, processions, and pilgrimages in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France (Lours, 2010; Maes, 2010; Martin, 2010), and La Place du chœur : architecture et liturgie du Moyen Âge aux temps modernes (Frommel, Lecomte, 2012), with essays by Laurent Lecomte, Mathieu Lours, and Émilie Roffidal-Motte on French post-Tridentine ritual spaces (Lecomte, 2012; Lours, 2012; Roffidal-Motte, 2012).

People

23Traditionally, the history of French early modern architecture has focused more on buildings and typologies than on architects. While the great names of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian architecture have been the focus of a plurality of modern monographs – four have been published since 2004 on the subject of Michelangelo’s architectural drawings alone (Maurer, 2004; Michelangelo, 2006-2007; Brothers, 2008; Michelangelo architetto, 2011) – their French counterparts have typically attracted much less attention. The only work dedicated to François Mansart since the 1970s is the 1998 volume curated by Babelon and Mignot, François Mansart : le génie de l’architecture (François Mansart, 1998); the first modern monograph on Jacques Androuet du Cerceau was published only three years ago (Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010); and, as mentioned in the introduction, no synthesis has yet been dedicated to many protagonists of the period, such as Pierre Lescot, Jean Bullant, and Pierre Le Muet. If the Vasarian tradition on the Italian front and, on the French one, the association of architects with the milieu of construction rather than with that of the arts have both played an essential role in the definition of this situation, as Mignot has stressed (Mignot, 2006), the reality of the archival record should not be overlooked. The factors that make it possible to have a plethora of studies dedicated to Michelangelo’s architectural drawings are twofold: first, the archives are flooded with Michelangelo’s architectural drawings and, second, they are retrievable. In France, the post-Revolutionary reformations of the records of the Ancien Régime have turned the archives into a much less negotiable territory, the modern map of which blurs, rather than clarifies, the web of early modern topographies.

24Yet a new attention to the architect’s monograph has blossomed in the past couple of decades, due in particular to the engagement of Sabine Frommel, Claude Mignot, and Alexandre Gady, who, in addition to producing studies on some of the major figures of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – François Mansart (François Mansart, 1998), Sebastiano Serlio (Frommel, 1998 [2002]), Jacques Lemercier (Gady, 2005), and Francesco Primaticcio (Frommel, Bardati, 2005 [2010]) – have also oriented many of their doctoral students toward similar works. Cojannot’s Louis Le Vau et les nouvelles ambitions de l’architecture française, 1634-1654 (Cojannot, 2012) is the latest product of this collegial focus. As Pauwels has pointed out, Le Vau has had no luck thus far: in spite of his productivity – he is the architect of the hôtel Lambert, the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the Collège des Quatre Nations, and the first Versailles, to name just a few projects – and the relevance of his oeuvre in the architectural landscape of seventeenth-century France, he had not yet been made the subject of a scholarly monograph (Pauwels, 1998a). Cojannot’s book fills this gap, and it does so with mastery. The first of two volumes (the publication of the second has been announced for the end of 2013) is dedicated to the early career of the architect, from his early ventures as a real estate entrepreneur on the île Saint-Louis to his nomination as Premier Architecte du Roi, in 1654. The content is organized according to the chronology of Le Vau’s projects, which allows the author to concentrate the vast documentary evidence he has collected into cohesive units while simplifying the navigation of the material for his readers. This chronological structure is punctuated by thematic sections that explore the social, economic, and intellectual contexts of Le Vau’s work and which once again prove that the architect’s monograph, as a genre, is far from having exhausted its potential.

  • 2  On books dedicated to Androuet du Cerceau, see Galletti, 2011. As to those dedicated to Serlio, I (...)

25Sebastiano Serlio, Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, and Philibert Delorme have attracted more attention than any of their contemporaries. Along with many articles and essays, two monographic volumes have been dedicated to Serlio’s work (Frommel, 1998 [2002]; Deswarte-Rosa, 2004), three to du Cerceau’s (Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010; Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, 2010; Deswarte-Rosa, Régnier-Roux, 2010), and four to Delorme’s (Philibert de l’Orme, 1993; Potié, 1996; Randall, 1997; Pérouse de Montclos, 2000a).2 It is not a coincidence that these are the publishing architects of their time, those who left us architectural treatises, in the case of Delorme and Serlio, or, in the case of du Cerceau, albums of existing buildings (Les Plus excellents bâtiments de France) and projects (Les Livres d’architecture). In a context where much architecture of the sixteenth century has been destroyed, the printed oeuvre of these architects often provides historians with testimonies of their work and of the work of others that would have otherwise been lost. Moreover, the printed dissemination of their ideas and production allowed these architects to increase their impact over several generations of practitioners and theoreticians in France and abroad. These two explanations partly solve what Mignot has dubbed the “Delorme mystery,” referring to the fact that more studies have been dedicated to Delorme than to any other early modern French architect (Mignot, 1996). While this abundance would suggest that there is little left to be explored about the architect and his oeuvre, the lacunae are, on the contrary, many and substantial. The list of works safely attributable to Delorme is still a matter of debate (Delorme, 1988; Guillaume, 2001; Jestaz, 2001); of his treatise, republished in 1988, only the sections dedicated to the orders and to stereotomy have attracted the attention of scholars; and, most importantly, Delorme’s studies remain largely insular in nature, characterized by little, if any, comparative exploration of both his built and written work with that of his contemporaries beyond the confines of France and its court.

26Next to the major figures, new research has also come out recently on a number of lesser-known architects and architects-entrepreneurs, such as Pierre Puget (Chancel, 1997), Nicolas Messier (Dulong, 1997), Jean Delespine (Letellier, Biguet, 1999), Clément Métezeau (Loizeau, 1999), Antonio Maurizio Valperga (Cojannot, 2003a), Pierre Cottart (Courtin, 2004), Claude Fouques (Leproux, 2005), and Hugues Sambin (Erlande-Brandenburg, 2001).

27A largely unexplored area of study is that of the profession of architecture in early modern times. Only three essays have been published so far on the definition of the architect as a professional figure – Mignot’s “La figure de l’architecte en France à l’époque moderne, 1540-1787” (Mignot, 2009a), his “Architectes du Grand Siècle: un nouveau professionalisme” (Mignot, 1998), and Pauwels’s “L’architecte, humaniste et artiste” (Pauwels, 1998b) – and nothing has yet been written on professional communities established around the practice of architecture or on the instruments of architectural planning, drawings and models. This is in striking contrast with the abundance of studies dedicated to the same themes for the medieval era. This might be partly due to an understanding of French architectural practice as stable over the longue durée of medieval and early modern times and as essentially unaffected by the humanist model put forward in Italian Renaissance treatises of the architect as intellectual, for whom conception is separate from the labor of building. Yet “separate” certainly did not mean “disconnected” for Italian theoreticians who, from Alberti to Palladio, were typically experienced practitioners. Nor was France immune to the humanist model, for it was precisely the model adopted by its most important sixteenth-­century theoretician, Philibert Delorme (who was an expert practitioner too and whose criticism of Pierre Lescot was built precisely around Lescot’s alleged disinterest in the practical matters of construction). Historians of early modern French architecture seem to have underemphasized the changes occurring in the profession between the late medieval and the early modern era as much as historians of Italian architecture have often overemphasized them.

28Paradoxically, one aspect of the profession that has attracted relatively more attention is the most intellectual of all: the concern with books and their collection. Annalisa Avon has focused on Jacques Lemercier’s extraordinary library, which contained more than 3000 volumes (Avon, 1996), while Mignot has published an important overview, “Bibliothèques d’architectes en France au xviie siècle” (Mignot, 2009b), that includes an annex of archival references (some partially transcribed) to post-mortem inventories of books for two dozen architects. Equally important is Pauwels’s study of a virtual library, the “declaration des principaux auteurs” published by Louis Savot in conclusion to his L’architecture françoise des bastiments particuliers (1624), which is the first bibliography of art ever written in French (Pauwels, 2008a).

29French architectural history has traditionally been much more concerned with patrons than with architects: monographs of buildings that do not dedicate a chapter to its patron(s) have long been the exception rather than the rule. (A recent multi-authored overview that focuses on the relations of patrons and architects over five centuries, therefore offering a broader frame for the many study-cases, is Architectes et commanditaires : cas particuliers du xvie au xxe siècle [Berrada, 2006].) Yet this interest has taken new turns in recent years by focusing on previously overlooked categories of architectural patronage, by women and cardinals, for instance, as well as by extending the disciplinary spectrum to include the analysis of architectural patronage within artistic patronage at large.

30Such is the case of the literature dedicated to two major figures of early modern patronage, the cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. While studies have hardly failed to emphasize the role that each played in seventeenth-century French architectural culture – as in the excellent study by Gady, “Le mauvais goût du cardinal? Richelieu et l’architecture” (Gady, 2006) – the most recent contributions focus on the arts in general, ranging from sculpture, painting, and prints to tapestry and the decorative arts, to music and theatrical spectacles, and on their relation to power, such as in Richelieu, patron des arts (Boyer, Gaehtgens, Gady, 2009) and Richelieu : Art and Power (Richelieu, 2002-2003). To Ballon’s and Cojannot’s studies of Mazarin as patron of architecture (Ballon, 1999; Cojannot, 2003a, 2003b) has been added a volume of collected essays concerned with the cardinal’s patronage of the arts more largely, Mazarin, les lettres et les arts (de Conihout, Michel, 2006)Also covering all the arts is a volume dedicated to another major patron, King Henri II, who had previously been studied on a case-by-case, area-bound basis, but who is considered instead in Henri II et les arts under a multidisciplinary lens (Oursel, Fritsch, 2003).

31Cardinals as a category of patrons, if not always strictly architectural, have been the concern of two new volumes of collected essays, The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety, and Art, 1450-1700 (Hollingsworth, Richardson, 2010) and Les Cardinaux de la Renaissance et la modernité artistique (Lemerle, Pauwels, Toscano, 2009). Because of their wealth and their access to networks of artists and art collectors, Renaissance cardinals are an ideal subject for exploring questions of patronage. Because of their peripatetic careers, cardinals also were crucial channels for the dissemination of artistic trends and ideas. Both volumes mentioned here provide the reader with good overviews of the topic and with a variety of detailed case studies mostly, but not exclusively, centered on Italy and France. (Yet, strangely, neither of them includes a contribution by Flaminia Bardati, who was one of the first scholars to address the question of cardinals’ architectural patronage [Bardati, 2013]).

32The topic of women’s patronage of the arts has been thriving now for decades. Along with a number of volumes of collected essays dealing with early modern France and Europe – including Women and Art in Early Modern Europe: Patrons, Collectors, and Connoisseurs (Lawrence, 1997), Französische Frauen der Frühen Neuzeit: Dichterinnen, Malerinnen, Mäzeninnen (Zimmermann, Böhm, 1999), Patronnes et mécènes en France à la Renaissance (Wilson-Chevalier, Pascal, 2007), and Medici Women as Cultural Mediators, 1533-1743 (Strunck, 2011) – several works have been dedicated in recent years to Catherine de’ Medici and Maria de’ Medici, two central figures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century art and architectural patronage who had long been misrepresented as “minor.” Il mecenatismo di Caterina de’ Medici: poesia, feste, musica, pittura, scultura, architettura (Frommel, Wolf, Bardati, 2008) focuses on Catherine, while Le “Siècle” de Marie de Médicis : actes du Séminaire de la chaire rhetorique et société en Europe (xvie-xviie siècles) du Collège de France (Fumaroli, Solinas, Graziani, 2003) and Maria de’ Medici (1573-1642): una principessa fiorentina sul trono di Francia (Maria de’ Medici, 2005) both explore Maria. Strangely enough, none of the volumes listed here devote much space to architectural patronage specifically, even though the history of French early modern architecture from Delorme to Mansart is a history largely populated by buildings commissioned by women. Readers are thus all the more looking forward to the essays dedicated to France in the forthcoming Bâtir au féminin? Tradition et stratégies en Europe et dans l’Empire ottoman, focused on women’s architectural patronage from the fifteenth- to the eighteenth-century (Frommel, Dumas, 2013).

Channels

33How architectural knowledge traveled in early modern France is a central question that so far has received relatively little scholarly attention. Traditional narratives have identified three main channels for the diffusion in France of classical and Italian models decorative motifs: contact with both ancient and modern art during the Italian campaigns of Charles VIII (1494-1496); the residence in France of Italian artists who followed the king home, such as Pacello da Mercogliano, Guido Mazzoni, and Fra’ Giocondo; and, under Francis I, the Fontainebleau School, where Italian, French, and Flemish artists collaborated in the production of some of the most original decorative programs of their time, thus establishing models that supposedly spread from Fontainebleau out to the “provinces” of France. It is now clear that these paradigms are outdated. The frequent contacts with northern Italy, and Lombardy in particular, during the reign of Francis I were far more significant for the exchange of ideas, motifs, and models between Italy’s and France’s artistic milieus than the brief (and rather chaotic, one imagines) encounters of Charles VIII troops. Moreover, with the sole exception of Domenico da Cortona’s stay, the sojourns in France of artists who followed Charles VIII after the Italian wars were rather short, and historians have failed to clearly identify their supposedly influential outcome. Regarding the Fontainebleau School, which in any case never focused heavily on architecture, the construal of Renaissance France as polycentric embraced by recent scholarship refutes the centrality, as such, of a school like Fontainebleau’s. It is also clear that a theoretical model that emphasizes Italy as the exclusive source of artistic knowledge in early modern France is, in and of itself, problematic. Northern Europe might have momentarily disappeared from the map of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars of French art, but it was powerfully present to fifteenth- and sixteenth-century French artists and patrons. As of yet, however, new paradigms have failed to replace the old ones. Not because it is unclear how ideas and visual models travelled in early modern Europe (they travelled mostly on paper, in the form of drawings and texts, both as manuscripts and printed, as well as through portable objects such as coins, medals, and sculptures), but because not much research has been dedicated to this topic and, where it has, as in the case of architectural treatises, very few surveys have been produced.

  • 3  http://architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr/Traite/index.asp (last accessed on March 6, 2013).

34Much attention has been dedicated to architectural treatises. Modern editions are regularly published on paper – amongst the most recent, the excellent editions of Guillaume Philandrier’s Annotationes (Philandrier, 2000, 2011), of Antoine Desgodets’s Édifices antiques de Rome (Desgodets, 2008a, 2008b), and of Roland Fréart de Chambray’s Parallèle de l’architecture antique avec la moderne (Fréart de Chambray, 2005) and his translation of Palladio’s Quattro libri (Palladio, 1997) – as well as online, in the Livres d’architecture database curated by Frédérique Lemerle et Yves Pauwels and hosted by the CESR.3 A most valuable source, the database contains both manuscript and printed books published in France, written in French, or translated into French during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with concise, bilingual French and English introductory texts for both authors and books.

35Abundant literature is also available on single treatises, their production, and their impact on both paper and built architecture. Of course, the most studied are the bestsellers of early modern Europe: Vignola’s Regola, especially its various French editions (Lemerle, 2008; Garric, 2008) and its expression in what has been dubbed the vignolisme of early modern French architecture (Mignot, 2003); Serlio’s Livres, including its various editions (Vène, 2007), its methodological conception (Pauwels, 1998c), and its less explicit religious content (Carpo, 1993); and Palladio’s Libri, in particular in regards to their reception and their employment as models by French architects and patrons (Mignot, 2000; Pérouse de Montclos, 2000b). A certain degree of attention has been paid also to the works of less popular authors, including the French editions of Hans Blum’s treatise (Pauwels, 2008b), Joseph Bolliot’s Figures de termes (Boillot, 1995), and Mauclerc’s rarity (Guillaume, 2009). An important volume of collected essays has been dedicated to Jean Martin, the little studied but central figure of Renaissance humanism who translated into French the works of Vitruvius, Alberti, and Serlio, among others (Cazauran, 1999).

36This abundance, however, has produced only a handful of syntheses, and all of them somewhat limited. La Construction savante : les avatars de la littérature technique (Garric, Nègre, Thomine-Berrada, 2008) is an excellent multi-authored volume that bridges the world of book production and that of the production and dissemination of architectural knowledge – the latter, though, as the title indicates, only in its construction-bound aspects. While providing the reader with a compelling theoretical overview of the history of the book in relation to the history of architecture, as well as stimulating essays on such topics as stereotomy manuals between the Middle Ages and the early modern period or the “architectural rhetoric” of Geofroy Tory’s treatise on typography, the volume does not engage with early modern architectural theory in the broader sense (Thomine-Berrada, 2008; Potié, 2008; Deloignon, 2008). Carmelo Occhipinti’s Il disegno in Francia nella letteratura artistica del Cinquecento (Occhipinti, 2003) is the first to focus on the theory of disegno as developed in French sixteenth-century literature, and it does so with a rigorous scholarly approach accompanied by an ease of style that makes it a pleasure to read. Yet the focus on the textual, theoretical aspects of the art does not leave much space for drawings themselves, and architectural drawings in particular are essentially absent. The most thought-provoking book published in this specific area is certainly Mario Carpo’s L’architettura dell’età della stampa (Carpo, 1998 [2008]), in which the printing press is construed as the technological revolution that both sparked and enabled the development of a Renaissance architectural style. As all books, Carpo’s is not perfect, and his interpretation of Serlio’s architectural models as reproducible ready-mades addressed, essentially, to the mediocre architect is particularly problematic (Pauwels, 2000). These defects are largely offset by the fact that L’architettura dell’età della stampa has the rare merit of attempting to bring together under a common theoretical umbrella two aspects of Renaissance architecture that scholars typically treat as separate, the practice and the books. Yet, Carpo’s theoretical frame is not as new as it might appear at first; it is, indeed, an architecture-specific elaboration of Elizabeth Eisenstein’s groundbreaking work on the centrality of the printing press in the development of humanistic culture in the early modern era (Eisenstein, 1979). It also shares some of Eisenstein’s work major flaws, namely an understanding of early modern printed material as both more fixed and more relevant, when compared to manuscripts, than is justified. In The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Johns, 1998), Adrian Johns has shown that early modern printed books shared many of the flexibilities of both content and layout (not to speak of authorship claims) of the manuscript books that they did not, in fact, replace. He has also shown that the overemphasis on printed material is the result of a projection of our own manuscript-less, contemporary culture onto a past in which manuscripts and printed books coexisted for a long time as non-mutually exclusive.

37On the opposite side of the spectrum from Carpo’s rigid interpretation of the dissemination of artistic knowledge in early modern France are a volume of collected essays titled La Réception de modèles cinquecenteschi dans la théorie et les arts français du xviie siècle (Frommel, Bardati, 2010), which explores the theme of cultural transfers by looking at how models and artists travelled across the Alps from sixteenth-century Italy to seventeenth-century France, and Margaret McGowan’s The Vision of Rome in Late Renaissance France (McGowan, 2000), dedicated to the French encounter with Rome, both ancient and modern. Clearly structured and beautifully written, McGowan’s book focuses first on the physical, visual, and textual means by which Rome was transported to France, and then on the reactions that the discovery of Rome produced in France itself. The author explores a broad range of materials, from guidebooks to artifacts to drawings, and covers a vast array of literary and artistic figures, from Antoine Caron to Michel de Montaigne. She thus provides readers with a most welcome and complex picture of the wealth of exchanges, reinterpretations, and reinventions that the revival of antiquity brought about in Renaissance Europe.

  • 4  Lemerle also curates the Gallia Romana database, a parent of the above-mentioned Livres d’architec (...)

38Focusing on the specific case of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau (Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010), Hubertus Günter, Krista de Jonge, Peter Fuhring, and Sabine Frommel have persuasively shown how varied the universe of ideas and forms circulating in early modern France was, and how it comprised a complex combination of diverse sources, ranging in geography from southern to northern Europe, in time from Antiquity to modernity, and in physical matter and scale from coins to buildings (de Jonge, 2010; Frommel, 2010; Fuhring, 2010; Günter, 2010). Lemerle’s essay on Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc’s engagement with ancient architecture (Lemerle, 2002, 2007) also insists on the variety of forms and means by which Antiquity entered the world of a seventeenth-century scholar, as objects, books, drawings, and letters moved through a broad transnational network of patrons, artists, and connoisseurs. Similar explorations on the reception and dissemination of Gallo-Roman antiquities have been undertaken by Lemerle herself (Lemerle, 2005), while Carolyn Yerkes has examined the circulation of drawings of Roman ancient and modern buildings in seventeenth-century France (Yerkes, 2011).4

39Among the many areas of study in the field of early modern French architectural history open to further investigation, the question of channels of transmission of architectural knowledge is still a largely unexplored cornucopia, and one that will certainly develop fast in the years to come. Not only does the age of information in which we live impose, at least on the historians among us, critical analyses of previous modes of cultural transfer, but the study of architecture – an art that “is learned, but hardly taught,” in Giuseppe Samonà’s famous expression – is inextricably bound to the study of what architects saw, read, drew, and fantasized about.

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Bibliographie

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– Blécon, Boudon, Grodecki, 1998: Jean Blécon, Françoise Boudon, Catherine Grodecki, Le Château de Fontainebleau de François Ier à Henri IV : les bâtiments et leurs fonctions, Paris, 1998.

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– Boyer, Gaehtgens, Gady, 2009: Jean-Claude Boyer, Barbara Gaehtgens, Bénédicte Gady eds., Richelieu, patron des arts, (conference, Paris, 2003), Paris, 2009.

– Brothers, 2008: Cammy Brothers, Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture, New Haven, 2008.

   

– Callebat, 1998: Louis Callebat, Histoire de l’architecte, Paris, 1998.

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– Chatenet, Mignot, 2009: Monique Chatenet, Claude Mignot eds., L’Architecture religieuse européenne au temps des réformes : héritage de la Renaissance et nouvelles problématiques, (conference, Maisons-Laffitte, 2005), Paris, 2009.

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– de Conihout, Michel, 2006: Isabelle de Conihout, Patrick Michel eds., Mazarin, les lettres et les arts, (conference, Paris, 2002), Paris/Saint-Rémy-en-l’Eau, 2006.

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– Deswarte-Rosa, Régnier-Roux, 2010: Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa, Daniel Régnier-Roux, Le Recueil de Lyon : Jacques Ier Androuet du Cerceau et son entourage, dessins d’architecture des xvie et xviisiècles de la bibliothèque de Camille de Neufville de Villeroy, Saint-Étienne, 2010.

– Didier, Guillaume, Martin, 2000: Frédéric Didier, Jean Guillaume, Jean-Hubert Martin, Le Château d’Oiron et son cabinet de curiosités, Paris, 2000.

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– Eisenstein, 1979: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press As an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge/New York, 1979.

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– Esquieu, 2003: Yves Esquieu ed., Du Gothique à la Renaissance : architecture et décor en France 1470-1550, (conference, Viviers, 2001), Aix-en-Provence, 2003.

   

– Favière, 1992: Jean Favière, L’Hôtel de Jacques Cœur à Bourges, Paris, 1992.

– Fonkenell, 2010: Guillaume Fonkenell, Le Palais des Tuileries, Arles, 2010.

– François Mansart, 1998: François Mansart : le génie de l’architecture, Jean-Pierre Babelon, Claude Mignot eds., (exh. cat., Blois, Château de Blois/Paris, Hôtel de Rohan, 1998-1999), Paris, 1998.

– Fréart de Chambray, 2005: Roland Fréart de Chambray, Parallèle de l’architecture antique avec la moderne suivi de Idée de la perfection de la peinture, Frédérique Lemerle, Milovan Stanić eds., Paris, 2005.

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– Frommel, 2010: Sabine Frommel, “Du Cerceau et Serlio,” in Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010, p. 129-141.

– Frommel, Bardati, 2005 (2010): Sabine Frommel, Flaminia Bardati eds., Francesco Primaticcio architetto, Milano, 2005, [Fr. ed.: Primatice architecte, Paris, 2010].

– Frommel, Bardati, 2010: Sabine Frommel, Flaminia Bardati eds., La Réception de modèles cinquecenteschi dans la théorie et les arts français du xviisiècle, Genève, 2010.

– Frommel, Dumas, 2013: Sabine Frommel, Juliette Dumas, Bâtir au féminin? Tradition et stratégies en Europe et dans l’Empire ottoman, Paris, 2013.

– Frommel, Lecomte, 2012: Sabine Frommel, Laurent Lecomte eds., La Place du chœur : architecture et liturgie du Moyen Âge aux temps modernes, (conference, Paris, 2007), Paris/Rome, 2012.

– Frommel, Wolf, Bardati, 2008: Sabine Frommel, Gerhard Wolf, Flaminia Bardati eds., Il mecenatismo di Caterina de’ Medici: poesia, feste, musica, pittura, scultura, architettura, Venice, 2008.

– Fuhring, 2010: Peter Fuhring, “Du Cerceau et Fontainebleau,” in Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010, p. 109-128.

– Fumaroli, Solinas, Graziani, 2003: Marc Fumaroli, Francesco Solinas, Françoise Graziani eds., Le “siècle” de Marie de Médicis, (conference, Paris, 2000), special issue, Franco-italica, 21-22, 2003.

– Furone, Iacono, 1999: Salvatore Ennio Furone, Giuseppe Iacono, Les Marchands banquiers florentins et l’architecture à Lyon au xvie siècle, Paris, 1999.

   

– Gady, 2005: Alexandre Gady, Jacques Lemercier, architecte et ingénieur du Roi, Paris, 2005.

– Gady, 2006: Alexandre Gady, “Le mauvais goût du cardinal? Richelieu et l’architecture,” in Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 150/3, 2006, p. 1449-1472.

– Gady, (2008) 2011: Alexandre Gady, Les Hôtels particuliers de Paris : du Moyen-Âge à la Belle Époque, Paris, (2008) 2011.

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– Galletti, 2012: Sara Galletti, Le Palais du Luxembourg de Marie de Médicis, 1611-1631, Paris, 2012.

– Gallo, 2000: Luigi Gallo, Variazioni sul Classico: l’architettura francese dal Rinascimento alla Rivoluzione, Rome, 2000.

– Gargiani, 1998: Roberto Gargiani, Idea e costruzione del Louvre: Parigi cruciale nella storia dell’architettura moderna europea, Florence, 1998.

– Garric, 2008: Jean-Philippe Garric, “Les éditions françaises du Vignole, du traité d’architecture au manuel technique,” in Garric, Nègre, Thomine, 2008, p. 169-178.

– Garric, Nègre, Thomine-Berrada, 2008: Jean-Philippe Garric, Valérie Nègre, Alice Thomine-Berrada eds., La Construction savante : les avatars de la littérature technique, (conference, Paris, 2005), Paris, 2008.

– Girouard, 2000: Mark Girouard, Life in the French Country House, London, 2000.

– Guillaume, 1993: Jean Guillaume, “La galerie dans le château français : place et fonction,” in La Revue de l’Art, 102, 1993, p. 32-42.

– Guillaume, 1994: Jean Guillaume ed., Architecture et vie sociale : l’organisation intérieure des grandes demeures à la fin du Moyen Âge et à la Renaissance, (conference, Tours, 1988), Paris, 1994.

– Guillaume, 1995: Jean Guillaume ed., L’Église dans l’architecture de la Renaissance, (conference, Tours, 1990), Paris, 1995.

– Guillaume, 1996: Jean Guillaume, review of Le Guillou, 1995, in La Revue de l’art, 111, 1996, p. 84.

– Guillaume, 2001: Jean Guillaume, review of Pérouse de Montclos, 2000a, in La Revue de l’Art, 133, 2001, p. 99-100.

– Guillaume, 2003: Jean Guillaume, “Le temps des expériences. La réception des formes ‘à l’antique’ dans les premières années de la Renaissance française,” in Jean Guillaume ed., L’Invention de la Renaissance : la réception des formes à “l’antique” au début de la Renaissance, (conference, Tours, 1994), Paris, 2003, p. 143-176.

– Guillaume, 2005: Jean Guillaume ed., Demeures d’éternité : églises et chapelles funéraires aux xve et xvie siècles, (conference, Tours, 1996), Paris, 2005.

– Guillaume, 2006: Jean Guillaume, Le Château de Bonnivet : entre Blois et Chambord, le chaînon manquant de la première Renaissance, Paris, 2006.

– Guillaume, 2008: Jean Guillaume, “Les frontières de la Renaissance,” in Repenser les limites: l’architecture à travers l’espace, le temps et les disciplines, (conference, Paris, 2005), 2008, published online: http://inha.revues.org/129 (last accessed on May 2, 2013).

– Guillaume, 2009: Jean Guillaume, “Une curiosité bibliographique dans la bibliothèque du CISA Andrea Palladio : un exemplaire du traité d’architecture de Mauclerc daté de 1599,” in Annali di architettura, 21, 2009, p. 111-114.

– Guillaume, Fuhring, 2010: Jean Guillaume, Peter Fuhring eds., Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, un des plus grands architectes qui se soient jamais trouvés en France,” Paris, 2010.

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– Hautecœur, 1924: Louis Hautecœur, Le Louvre et les Tuileries, Paris, 1924.

– Hautecœur, 1943-1957: Louis Hautecœur, Histoire de l’architecture classique en France, Paris, 1943-1957.

– Henri IV à Fontainebleau, 2010-2011: Henri IV à Fontainebleau : un temps de splendeur, Vincent Droguet ed., (exh. cat., Fontainebleau, Château de Fontainebleau, 2010-2011), Paris, 2010.

– Hollingsworth, Richardson, 2010: Mary Hollingsworth, Carol M. Richardson eds., The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety, and Art, 1450-1700, (conference, London, 2004), University Park (PA), 2010.

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– Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, 2010: Jacques Androuet du Cerceau : les dessins des plus excellents bâtiments de France, Françoise Boudon, Claude Mignot ed., (exh. cat., Paris, Musée des monuments français, 2010), Paris, 2010.

– Jestaz, 2001: Bertrand Jestaz, review of Pérouse de Montclos, 2000a, in Bulletin Monumental, 159/4, 2001, p. 347-349.

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– Kavaler, 2012: Ethan Matt Kavaler, Renaissance Gothic: The Authority of Ornament, 1470-1540, New Haven, 2012.

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– Lecomte, 2010: Laurent Lecomte, “Architecture para-conventuelle : le pensionnat de jeunes filles aux xviie et xviiie siècles,” in Ottenheym, Chatenet, de Jonge, 2010, p. 325-332.

– Lecomte, 2012: Laurent Lecomte, “‘L’église intérieure’ : le chœur des religieuses en France à l’époque post-tridentine,” in Frommel, Lecomte, 2012, p. 201-212.

– Lecomte, 2013: Laurent Lecomte, Religieuses dans la ville : l’architecture des visitandines aux xviie et xviiie siècles, Paris, 2013.

– Leloup, 1996: Daniel Leloup, La Maison urbaine en Trégor aux xve et xvie siècles, Rennes, 1996.

– Leloup, 2001: Daniel Leloup, Le Château d’Anet : l’amour de Diane de Poitiers et d’Henri II, Paris, 2001.

– Lemerle, 2002: Frédérique Lemerle, “Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc et l’architecture antique,” in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 139/1598, 2002, p. 287-302.

– Lemerle, 2005: Frédérique Lemerle, La Renaissance et les antiquités de la Gaule : l’architecture gallo-romaine vue par les architectes, antiquaires et voyageurs des guerres d’Italie à la Fronde, Turnhout/Tours, 2005.

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– Lemerle, 2008: Frédérique Lemerle, “Les versions françaises de la Regola de Vignole au xviie siècle,” in In Monte Artium, 1, 2008, p. 101-121.

– Lemerle, Pauwels, Toscano, 2009: Frédérique Lemerle, Yves Pauwels, Gennaro Toscano, Les Cardinaux de la Renaissance et la modernité artistique, (conference, Tours, 2005), Villeneuve-d’Ascq, 2009.

– Leproux, 2005: Guy-Michel Leproux, “Claude Fouques, architecte du cardinal de Lorraine, de Diane de Poitiers et de Charles IX,” in Documents d’histoire parisienne, 1/5, 2005, p. 15-26.

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– Lours, 2010b: Mathieu Lours, L’Autre temps des cathédrales : du concile de Trente à la Révolution française, Paris, 2010.

– Lours, 2012: Mathieu Lours, “Le chœur en bataille. Débats et polémiques sur les chœurs ‘à la romaine’ dans les cathédrales françaises au xviiie siècle,” in Frommel, Lecomte, 2012, p. 227-236.

– Lurin, 2010: Emmanuel Lurin ed., Le Château-Neuf de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 2010.

   

– Maes, 2010: Bruno Maes, “La cathédrale de Notre-Dame du Puy : un pèlerinage sur une frontière de catholicité,” in Vincent, Pycke, 2010, p. 129-144.

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– Martin, 2010: Philippe Martin, “Territoires processionnels à Toul aux 17e et 18e siècles,” in Vincent, Pycke, 2010, p. 57-71.

– Martin, 2011: Meredith Martin, Dairy Queens: The Politics of Pastoral Architecture from Catherine de’ Medici to Marie-Antoinette, Cambridge (MA), 2011.

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– Melters, 2008: Monika Melters, Die Kolossalordnung: Zum Palastbau in Italien und Frankreich zwischen 1420 und 1670, Munich, 2008.

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– Mignot, 1998: Claude Mignot, “Architectes du Grand Siècle : un nouveau professionnalisme,” in Callebat, 1998, p. 106-127.

– Mignot, 2000: Claude Mignot, “Palladio et l’architecture française du xviie siècle : une admiration critique,” in Annali di architettura, 12, 2000, p. 107-115.

– Mignot, 2003: Claude Mignot, “Vignola e vignolismo in Francia nel Sei e Settecento,” in Christoph Luitpold Frommel, Maurizio Ricci, Richard J. Tuttle eds., Vignola e i Farnese, (conference, Piacenza, 2002), Milan, 2003, p. 354-374.

– Mignot, 2005: Claude Mignot, “Le château de Pont en Champagne, la ‘maison aux champs’ de Claude Boutillier, surintendant des finances de Louis XIII,” in Monuments et mémoires de la Fondation Eugène Piot, 84, 2005, p. 173-212.

– Mignot, 2006: Claude Mignot, “La monographie d’architecte à l’époque moderne en France et en Italie : esquisse d’historiographie comparée,” in Perspective, 4, 2006, p. 629-636.

– Mignot, 2007: Claude Mignot, “Les modèles de Pierre Le Muet à l’épreuve du temps : l’hôtel Coquet, puis Catelan, à Paris,” in Bulletin de la Fédération des sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l’Île-de-France, 2007, p. 189-238.

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– Mignot, 2009b: Claude Mignot, “Bibliothèques d’architectes en France au xviie siècle,” in Olga Medvedkova ed., Bibliothèques d’architecture/Architectural Libraries, (conference, Paris, 2005), Paris, 2009, p. 23-37.

– Mignot, 2010: Claude Mignot, “Le château de Cormatin, une relecture,” in Christian Pattyn, Christine Flon-Granveaud eds., Saône-et-Loire : Bresse bourguignonne, Chalonnais, Tournugeois, (conference, Chalon-sur-Saône, 2008), Paris, 2010, p. 177-186.

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– Noblet, 2009a: Julien Noblet, En Perpétuelle mémoire : collégiales castrales et saintes-chapelles à vocation funéraire en France (1450-1560), Rennes, 2009.

– Noblet, 2009b: Julien Noblet, Sanctuaires dynastiques ligériens : l’exemple des collégiales castrales et saintes-chapelles (1450-1560), Châtillon-sur-Indre, 2009.

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– Oursel, Fritsch, 2003: Hervé Oursel, Julia Fritsch eds., Henri II et les arts, (conference, Ecouen, 1997), Paris, 2003.

   

– Pagazani, 2012: Xavier Pagazani, “Le château de Tilly à Boissey-le-Châtel : la ’maison aux champs’ d’un conseiller au parlement de Normandie sous le règne de François Ier,” in Aspects de la Renaissance en Normandie, Paris, 2012, p. 3-33.

– Palladio, 1997: Andrea Palladio, Les Quatre livres de l’architecture, Frédérique Lemerle ed., Paris, 1997.

– Pauwels, 1998a: Yves Pauwels, review of Cyril Bordier, Louis Le Vau architecte. Tome 1 : Les immeubles et hôtels particuliers parisiens, Paris, 1998, in La Revue de l’art, 125, 1999, p. 80-81.

– Pauwels, 1998b: Yves Pauwels, “L’architecte, humaniste et artiste,” in Callebat, 1998, p. 62-85.

– Pauwels, 1998c: Yves Pauwels, “La méthode de Serlio dans le ‘Quarto Libro’,” in La Revue de l’art, 119, 1998, p. 33-42.

– Pauwels, 2000: Yves Pauwels, review of Carpo, 1998, in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 59/3, 2000, p. 385-386.

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Notes

1  As Guillaume pointed out in his 1996 review (Guillaume, 1996), Jean-Claude Le Guillou’s Azay-le-Rideau : entre Renaissance et Romantisme (Le Guillou, 1995), uncritical and deprived of footnotes or any other form of reference to sources, can be at times a fine read but is not up to scholarly standards. Similar problems affect Daniel Leloup’s Le Château d’Anet : l’amour de Diane de Poitiers et d’Henri II (Leloup, 2001).

2  On books dedicated to Androuet du Cerceau, see Galletti, 2011. As to those dedicated to Serlio, I am not including here the many works that focus on his treatise because this vast literature never engages with Serlio’s French activities nor with France in general.

3  http://architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr/Traite/index.asp (last accessed on March 6, 2013).

4  Lemerle also curates the Gallia Romana database, a parent of the above-mentioned Livres d’architecture collection, which comprises fifteenth- to seventeenth-century texts and images of Gallo-Roman antiquities (http://architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr/GalliaRomana/index.asp, last accessed on March 8, 2013).

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Sara Galletti, « Before the Academy: research trends in the history of French early modern architecture before the age of Louis XIV », Perspective, 1 | 2013, 43-65.

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Sara Galletti, « Before the Academy: research trends in the history of French early modern architecture before the age of Louis XIV », Perspective [En ligne], 1 | 2013, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2014, consulté le 20 novembre 2017. URL : http://perspective.revues.org/1790

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Auteur

Sara Galletti

Assistant Professor in the History of Architecture at Duke University. Her research and publications concern the history and theory of early modern French architecture. She is the author of Le Palais du Luxembourg de Marie de Médicis, 1611-1631 (Paris, 2012), and she is currently working on a project titled Practice into Theory: Philibert Delorme, the Premier Tome de l’Architecture (1567), and the Profession of Architecture in Early Modern France.

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