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FRENCH RENAISSANCE]
415
ARCHITECTURE
east front, however, did not recommend itself to the king or to his minister Colbert, and a competition was held, the first place being given to the design by a physician, Dr Perrault. Prior to its being begun, however, Bernini was sent for, and he submitted other designs, fortunately not carried out, as they would have destroyed the court of the Louvre. In 1665 the works were begun on the design of Perrault, a grandiose frontispiece which appealed to Louis XIV., but in which no cognizance had been taken of the various rooms against which it was built; consequently no windows could be opened, and it forms now a useless peristyle. Moreover it was so much wider than the original building that on the north side it became necessary to add a new front. Fortunately the example set by Perrault of coupling columns together has rarely been followed since in France, so that in the Garde-Meuble on the south side of the Place de la Concorde, by Gabriel, we return again to the original classic peristyle. The works undertaken at the Louvre progressed but slowly, in consequence of the greater interest taken by Louis XIV. in the palace he was building at Versailles, an extension of the hunting-box built by his father Louis XIII., which he insisted should be maintained and incorporated as the central feature in the new building. But as it was comparatively small in dimensions, of simple design, and in brick and stone, it was quite unfit to become the central feature of the main front of the largest palace in Europe. To make it worse, the new wings built on either side were lofty and of more importance architecturally, and as they projected some 300 ft. in advance of the earlier building, they reduced it to still greater insignificance. But even then the architect, Jules Hardouin Mansart, might have redeemed his reputation by buildings of greater interest than those which now exist. The back elevation of the central block is 330 ft. wide, the returns 280 ft., and the length of the wings on each side 500 ft.; in other words he had nearly 1900 ft. run of façade, and it is simply a repetition of the same bays from one end to the other, in three storeys all of the same height, the lower one with semicircular arched openings, the first floor decorated with pilasters on columns of the Ionic order, and an attic storey above with balustrade. The slight projection given to the central and side bays of each block, just sufficient to allow of columns in the first floor as decorative features instead of pilasters, is of no value in fronts of such great dimensions. The great galleries inside have the same monotonous design as in the façades, relieved only by the rich decoration in the first case and the splendid masonry in the latter. There is one saving clause in the main front, the chapel by R. de Cotte on the right-hand side being externally and internally a fine structure, and the best ecclesiastical example of the period.
Among other buildings of the 17th century are those begun by Cardinal Mazarin in the rue de Richelieu, which now constitute the National library; the Hôtel de Toulouse (1626), now the Bank of France; the Hôtel de Sully (1630), by du Cerceau; the Hôtel de Beauvais (1654), by le Pautre; the Hôtel Lambert (also by le Pautre), in the Île St Louis; the château at Maisons, near St Germain-en-Laye, by François Mansart (1656); the Institute of France (1662), by Levau; two triumphal arches, of St Denis (1672), by Blondel, and St Martin (1674) by Bullet; the Hôtel des Invalides (1670), by Bruant; the Place des Victoires and the Place Vendôme (1695-1699), by Jules Hardouin Mansart, in which a series of large houses are grouped together in one design; the Trianon at Versailles (1676), and the château of Marly (1682), both by J. H. Mansart; and important monumental buildings in the principal provincial cities, such as Lyons, Bordeaux, Nantes and Tours.
In the 18th century those which are worthy of note are the Hôtel Soubise (1706), now the “Archives Nationales”; the fountain in the rue de Grenelle, a fine composition; the École Militaire (1752), by Gabriel; the École de Médecine (1769), by Gondouin; the mint (1772), by Antoine; the Place de la Concorde, with the Garde-Meuble, by Gabriel (1765); the Hôtel de Salm, now the Legion of Honour; the Place Stanislas at Nancy (1738-1766), in which are grouped the town hall, archbishop’s palace, theatre and other public buildings, with triumphal arch and avenues leading to the palace of the duke Stanislaus (with magnificent wrought-iron enclosures and gates by Jean Lamour, the greatest craftsman of the century); the theatre at Bordeaux by Louis; and the Odéon, Paris (1789).
The ecclesiastical architecture of the French Renaissance comes at the end of our description owing to the far greater importance of the palaces, mansions and public monuments, and also because in the beginning of the 16th century France found herself in possession of a much larger number of cathedrals and large churches than she could maintain. Some of these are still unfinished, so that her first efforts would seem to have been directed to the completion of those already begun rather than to the erection of new ones, St Eustache in Paris being nearly the only exception of importance prior to the 17th century.
We have from time to time dwelt upon the important consideration which must not be lost sight of, viz. that nearly all the buildings erected in France up to the accession of Henry IV. were conceived and carried out in the spirit of the Flamboyant Gothic style, cinque-cento details mixed up with Gothic at first, then superseding them, and even when the influence of the Italian revivalists began to exert itself, still retaining much of her traditional methods of design. If this was the case in civil architecture, it was naturally more pronounced in the additions made to ecclesiastical structures, and the gradual development of the style may be more easily followed in the latter. These are, however, so numerous, and they are so universally spread throughout France, that only a few of the most interesting examples can be here given; for instance, the porch of St Michel at Dijon; the upper part of the western towers of the cathedrals of Orleans and Tours; the three eastern chapels of St Jacques, Dieppe, built at the cost of Jean Ango, a celebrated merchant-prince of Dieppe, to whose château at Varengeville we have already referred; the eastern chapels of St Peter’s, Caen, from the designs of Hector Sohier (1521), both internally and externally of great interest; the west end of the church at Vétheuil (Seine-et-Oise); the magnificent work of the west front and tower of the church at Gisors; the upper part of the west front of the cathedral at Angers; the portals of the church at Auxonne (Fichot); the choir at Tillières; the lantern of the church of St Peter, Coutances (1541); the porch of the Dalbade at Toulouse; and the north front of the church of Ste Clotilde at Les Andelys, which dates from the age of Henry II.
The church of St Eustache at Paris, begun in 1533, but not completed till the end of the century, is a large cruciform Gothic structure with lofty double aisles on each side and carried round the choir, and rectangular chapels round the whole building, excepting the west end. Structurally also it possesses all the most characteristic features of the Gothic church, with nave arcades carried on compound piers, triforium and clerestory, vaulted throughout, and flying buttresses outside. Close examination shows that all the details are of the early cinque-cento work, panelled pilasters of varying proportions, but with Renaissance capitals, corbels, niches and canopies all grouped together in a Gothic manner, and quite opposed to the principles of the Italian revivalists; what is more remarkable is that though long before its completion these principles had already borne fruit in the Louvre and Tuileries, the original conception was adhered to, and the portals of the north and south transepts (the last features added, with the exception of the ugly west front of the 18th century) still retain the character of the early French Renaissance.
In St Étienne-du-Mont, sometimes claimed as a second example, the church is Flamboyant Gothic throughout, the chief additions being the magnificent rood-screen of 1600, and the west portal, in which the banded columns of the Bourbon period form the chief features.
Coming to churches of later date, Salomon de Brosse (c. 1565-1627), the architect of the Luxembourg palace, added in 1616 a fresh front to the church of St Gervais, finely proportioned and of pure Italian design, which contrasts favourably with the Jesuits’ church of St Paul and St Louis (1627-1641), overladen with rococo ornament; then came the churches of the Sorbonne (1629), by Jacques Lemercier, and of the Val-de-Grace (1645), by François Mansart, the dome of the latter, though small, being a fine design; the church of the Invalides, also by Mansart, the dome of which is the most graceful in France; the cathedral of Nancy (1703-1742), by Jules Hardouin Mansart and Germain Boffrand (1667-1754), the principal front of which is flanked by two towers with octagonal lanterns which group so well with the central portion (of the usual design, in two stages with pilasters and coupled columns, carrying a third stage with circular pediment) that it is unfortunate it should be almost the only example of its kind; and lastly the church of Ste Geneviève, better known as the Panthéon (1755), by Jacques Germain Soufflot (1713-1780), the dome of which is based largely on that of St Peter’s in Rome. The main building with its great portico is a simple and fine piece of design, and unlike St Peter’s the dome is well seen from every point of view; the decoration of its walls with paintings by Puvis de Chavannes and other French artists has now rendered the interior one of the most interesting in France.

 (R. P. S.) 


Renaissance Architecture in Spain

In Spain, as in France, the revival of classic architecture was engrafted on the Flamboyant style of the country, influenced here and there by Moorish work, so that the earlier examples of Spanish Renaissance constitute a transitional style which lasted till the accession of Philip II. (1558), who introduced what was then considered to be the purer Italian style of Palladio and Vignola. This, however, did not seem to have had much attraction for the Spaniards, owing to its coldness and formality, so that in the latter half of the 17th century a reaction took place in favour of the most depraved and decadent architecture in existence.

The magnificence of the earlier Renaissance work, which was introduced into Spain when she was at the zenith of her power, and (owing to the discovery of a new world) the possessor of enormous wealth, has scarcely yet been recognized, in consequence of the greater attraction of the Moorish architecture; there is