Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/440

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FRENCH RENAISSANCE]
413
ARCHITECTURE
so that the first flight of steps leading up to the court forms a prominent feature in every palace; the ceilings of the entrance vestibule are also mostly decorated with arabesque work in stucco, or with painted devices, &c. The palaces in the town are lofty, and as a rule crowned with fine cornices, and there are no examples of pilasters being carried through the floors; the palaces and villas in the vicinity of Genoa are of less height, and owe much of their magnificence to the terraces on which they are erected. They have no special qualities except in slight variations of the external wall surface decoration, consisting of the applied orders on the several storeys. Among the best examples are the Palazzo Cataldi, formerly Palazzo Carega (1560), in which there are no pilasters, but rusticated quoins at the angles and windows with moulded dressings and pediments. The entrance vestibules of the Durazzo-Pallavicini, Rosso (1558) and Balbi (1610) palaces are in each case their finest features. The Pallavicini palace, and the Pallavicini, Spinola, Giustiniani and Durazzo villas, are all fairly well designed and in good proportions, but with no original treatment. Two of the palaces are flanked by open loggias with arcades, from which fine views are obtained, giving them a special character; that of the Durazzo palace being on the first floor, and of the Doria Tursi on the ground storey. The University (1623) and the Ducal palaces have very magnificent entrance vestibules, the former with lions on the lower ramp of the staircase.
Many of the finest palaces at Genoa are by Galeazzo Alessi, but in none of them has he approached the design of the Marino or municipal palace at Milan, in which he produced a remarkable work; the internal courtyard surrounded with arcades carried on coupled columns is an original combination which is not excelled in any other court in Italy, and the exterior façades are very fine.
The internal courtyard of the hospital at Milan (243 ft. by 220 ft.), with an arcade in two storeys, was designed by Bramante and begun in 1457; only one side was completed by him, but in 1621, in consequence of a large benefaction, the remainder was completed by Ricchini according to the original design; the proportions of the arcade are extremely pleasing, and it forms now one of the chief monuments of the town. Ricchini was the architect of the Litta palace, one of the largest in Milan.
There still remains to be mentioned one of the early examples of the Renaissance, the triumphal arch which was erected in 1470 at Naples to commemorate the entry of Alphonso of Aragon into the town. It is built against the walls of the old castle in four storeys, and connected with bas-reliefs and statues. The largest palace in Italy, that of the Caserta at Naples, with a frontage of 766 ft., built in 1752 by Vanvitelli, is one of the most monotonous designs, rivalled in that respect only by the Escurial in Spain.

 (R. P. S.) 


Renaissance Architecture in France

The classical revival of the 15th century in Italy was too important a movement to have remained long without its influence extending to other countries. In France this was accelerated by the campaigns of Charles VIII., Louis XII. and Francis I., which led to the revelation of the artistic treasures in Italy; the result being the importation of great numbers of Italian craftsmen, who would seem to have been employed in the carving of decorative architectural accessories, such as the panels and capitals of pilasters, niches and canopies, corbels, friezes, &c., either in tombs, as for instance in those of Charles of Anjou at Le Mans (1472) and at Solesmes (1498), of Francis, duke of Brittany (1501), and of the children of Charles VIII. (1506) at Tours, and of Cardinal d’Amboise in Rouen cathedral, the figures in all these cases being carved by French sculptors. They were also employed in architectural buildings, where the design and execution were by French master-masons, and the Italians were called in to carve the details, as in the choir screens of Chartres, Albi and Limoges cathedrals, the portal of St. Michel at Dijon, the eastern chapels of St Pierre at Caen, and numerous other churches throughout France; or for mansions like the Hôtel d’Alluye at Blois, the Hôtel d’Allemand at Bourges, and the châteaux of Meillant (1503), Châteaudun and Nantouillet (1519). The great centre of the artistic regeneration was at first at Tours, so that in Touraine, and generally on the borders of the Loire and the Cher at Amboise, Blois, Gaillon, Chenonceaux, Azay-le-Rideau and Chambord, are found the principal examples; later, Francis I. transferred the court to Paris, and the château of Madrid, and the palaces of Fontainebleau, St Germain-en-Laye, and the Louvre, follow the change. In all these châteaux the Italian craftsman would seem to have been under the direction of the master-mason or architect, because the whole scheme of the design and its execution is French, and only the decoration Italian. In cases where the Italian was not called in, the Gothic flamboyant style flourishes in full vigour with no suggestion of foreign influence, as in the palais de justice at Rouen, the church of Brou (Ain), 1505-1532, the Hôtel de Cluny, Paris, and the rood-screen of the church of the Madeleine at Troyes (1531).

Between the last phase of Flamboyant Gothic and the introduction of the pure Italian Revival there existed a transitional period, known generally as the “Francis I. style,” which may be subdivided under three heads:—the Valois period, comprising the reigns of Charles VIII. and Louis XII. (1483-1515); the Francis I. period (1515-1547); and the Henry II. and Catherine de’ Medici period (1547-1589). The first two are characterized by the lofty roofs, dormers and chimneys, by circular or square towers at the angles of the main building with decorative machicolations and hourds, by buttresses set anglewise, which run up into the cornice, and square-headed windows with mullions and transoms. In the second period the machicolations are converted into corbels carrying semicircular arcaded niches in which shells are carved; the buttresses become pilasters with Renaissance capitals; and the Gothic detail, which in the first period is mixed up with the Renaissance, disappears altogether. In the third period Italian design begins to exert its influence in the regular interspacing of the pilasters or columns with due proportion of height to diameter, in the completion of the order with the regular entablature, and its employment generally in a more structural manner than in the earlier work.

The two first periods are well represented in the château of Blois, where, in the east wing built by Louis XII., square-headed windows alternate with three central arches, the buttresses are set anglewise running into the cornice, and pillars and angle shafts are carved with chevrons, spiral flutings, or cinque-cento arabesque; the cornices of the towers containing staircases project and are carried on arched niches supported on corbels (the new interpretation of the machicolations of the feudal castle); above the cornice is a balustrade with pierced flamboyant tracery, and the dormer windows retain their Gothic detail. In the north wing of Francis I. all these Gothic ornamental details disappear, and are replaced by the Renaissance. Panels and pilasters take the place of the buttresses—the panels sometimes enriched with cinque-cento arabesque; shells are carved in the arched niches of the cornice, and modillions and dentil courses are introduced; the balustrade is pierced with flowing Renaissance foliage interspersed with the salamanders and coronets; the same high roofs are maintained, but the dormer windows and chimneys, still Gothic in design, are entirely clothed with Renaissance detail.
The finest feature of the façade of this north wing, facing the court, is the magnificent polygonal staircase tower in its centre (Plate VIII., fig. 84); four great piers rise from ground to cornice, between which the rising balustrade is fitted; the whole feature Gothic in design, but Renaissance in all its details. The splendid carving of the panels of the piers and the niches with their canopies was probably done by Italian artists. The figures in these niches are said to be by Jean Goujon. The great dormers and chimneys have not the refinement in their design which characterizes the lower portion, and may be of later date. The north front of the château is raised on the foundation walls of the old castle, part of which is encased in it, and this may account for the slight irregularities in the widths of the bays. The design differs from that of the south front, the windows all being recessed behind three-centre arched openings; the open loggia at the top, which is admirable in effect, is a subsequent alteration.
Before passing to the Louvre and Tuileries, representing the third period, we must refer to some other important early châteaux and buildings. Some of these, such as the châteaux of Madrid and Gaillon, are known chiefly from du Cerceau’s work, as they were destroyed at the Revolution. Of the latter building, the entrance gateway is still in situ; there are some portions in the court of the École des Beaux-Arts at Paris, consisting of a second entrance gateway, a portico and some large panels. The gateway shows a singular mixture of Gothic and Renaissance; the centre portion, with the gateway and great niche over, is debased classic, the side portions retaining the buttresses, mouldings, panels and other features belonging to the latest phase of Flamboyant Gothic.
Of buildings still existing, the hôtel de ville of Orleans (1497) is a good example of early transition work, in which Gothic and Renaissance work is intermingled, and it is interesting to compare it with the hôtel de ville at Beaugency, built by the same architect, Viart, some twenty-five years later. There is the same principle in design, much improved in the later example, but all the Gothic details have disappeared.
In the château of Chenonceaux (1515-1524) we find a compromise between the two styles; Gothic corbels, piers and three-centre arches are employed, varied with debased classic mouldings, shells and capitals; here, as at Azay-le-Rideau (1520), the château was