Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER FIVE
 

THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
 

Painting
Architecture and Sculpture - Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

 
 

 

Architecture and Sculpture
 

In architecture and sculpture, it took the Northern countries longer to assimilate Italian forms than in painting. France was more closely linked with Italy than the rest. We will recall that it had conquered Milan in 1499, and that King Francis I had shown his admiration for Italian art earlier by inviting first Leonardo and then the Mannerists to France. As a consequence, France began to assimilate Italian art somewhat earlier than the other countries and was the first to achieve an integrated Renaissance style. We shall therefore confine our discussion to French monuments.




SOHIER.

As we might expect, architects still trained in the Gothic tradition could not adopt the Italian style all at once. They readily used its classical vocabulary, but its syntax gave them trouble tor many years. One glance at the choir of St.-Pierre at Caen (fig.
732), built by Hector Sohier, shows that he followed the basic pattern of French Gothic church choirs (compare fig. 449), simply translating flamboyant decoration into the vocabulary of the new language. Finials become candelabra, pier buttresses are shaped like pilasters, and the round-arched windows of the ambulatory chapels have geometric tracery.
 


732. HECTOR SOHIER. Choir of St.-Pierre, Caen. 1528-45



CHATEAU OF CHAMBORD.

The Chateau of Chambord (fig. 733) is stylistically more complicated. Its plan, and the turrets, high-pitched roofs, and tall chimneys, recall the Gothic Louvre (see fig. 536). Yet the design, though greatly modified by later French builders, was originally by an Italian pupil of Giuliano da Sangallo, and his was surely the plan of the center portion (fig. 734), which is quite unlike its French predecessors. This square block, developed from the keep of medieval castles, has a central staircase fed by four corridors. These form a Greek cross dividing the interior into four square sections. Each section is further subdivided into one large and two smaller rooms, and a closet, forming a suite or apartment in modern parlance. The functional grouping of these rooms, originally imported from Italy, was to become a standard pattern in France. It represents the starting point of all modern "designs for living."



733. The Chateau of Chambord (north front). Begun 1519
734. Plan of center portion. Chateau of Chambord (after Du Cerceau)




The Chateau of Chambord




LESCOT.

Francis I, who built Chambord, decided in
1546 to replace the old Gothic royal castle, the Louvre, with a new palace on the old site. The project had barely begun at the time of his death, but his architect, Pierre Lescot (c. 1515-1578), continued it under Henry II, quadrupling the size of the court. This enlarged scheme was not completed for more than a century. Lescot built only the southern half of the court's west side (fig. 735), which represents its "classic" phase, so called to distinguish it from the style of such buildings as Chambord. This distinction is well warrranted. The Italian vocabulary of Chambord and St.-Pierre at Caen is based on the Early Renaissance, whereas Lescot drew on the work of Bramante and his successors. Lescot's design is classic in another sense as well: it is the finest surviving example of Northern Renaissance architecture. The details of Lescot's facade do indeed have an astonishing classical purity, yet we would not mistake it for an Italian structure. Its distinctive quality comes not from Italian forms superficially applied, but from a genuine synthesis of the traditional chateau with the Renaissance palazzo. Italian, of course, are the superimposed classical orders (see figs. 605 and 700), the pedimented window frames, and the arcade on the ground floor. But the continuity of the facade is interrupted by three projecting pavilions that have supplanted the chateau turrets, and the high-pitched roof is also traditionally French. The vertical accents thus overcome the horizonal ones (note the broken architraves), an effect reinforced by the tall, narrow windows.



735. PIERRE LESCOT. Square Court of the Louvre, Paris. Begun 1546
 

 


Pierre Lescot


Pierre Lescot, (born c. 1515, Paris, Fr.—died 1578, Paris), one of the great French architects of the mid-16th century who contributed a decorative style that provided the foundation for the classical tradition of French architecture.

In his youth Lescot, who came from a wealthy family of lawyers, studied mathematics, architecture, and painting. There is no evidence that he visited Italy, although much of his design was classical; it appears that he acquired his knowledge of architecture from illustrated books and from Roman ruins in France.

Lescot’s most important contribution to architecture was his rebuilding of the Louvre, which he began in 1546 as a commission from Francis I. The style and design of Lescot’s work on the Louvre reflect a revolution in French architecture marked by the influence of classical elements. His work on the facade combined traditional French elements and classical features to create a unique style of French classicism. Lescot’s other work includes the Hôtel Carnavalet (1545), which still survives in part; a screen at Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois (1554); the Fontaine des Innocents (1547–49); and the château of Vallery. Unfortunately, none of these works has survived intact.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 



The Cour Carré of the Louvre, with the Lescot Wing on the left



Lescot's Fontaine des nymphes 1549, rededicated as Fontaine des innocents




GOUJON.

Equally un-Italian is the rich sculptural decoration covering almost the entire wall surface of the third story. These relicts, admirably adapted to the architecture, are by Jean Goujon (c.
1510-1565?), the finest French sculptor of the mid-sixteenth century. Unfortunately, they have been much restored. To get a more precise idea of Goujon's style we must turn to the relief panels from the Fontaine des Innocents (two are shown in figs. 736 and 737), which have survived intact, although their architectural framework by Lescot is lost. These graceful figures recall the Mannerism of Cellini (see fig. 695) and, even more, Primaticcio's decorations at Fontainebleau (see fig. 696). Like Lescot's architecture, their design combines classical details of remarkable purity with a delicate slcndemess that gives them a uniquely French air.



736, 737. JEAN GOUION. Reliefs from the Fontaine des Innocents. 1548-49. Paris

 
 

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