French Art – Art Under Henri IV. And Louis XIII. 1589-1643

WITH the beginning of the 17th century French Art enters upon a new path. Clouet, Cousin, and Pilon were dead. The Ligue and the religious troubles of the end of the 16th century had suspended architectural activity for many years. And when Henri IV. returned in 1594 to Paris, the last flickering flame of the Renaissance that had lighted France for a hundred years, the last traditions of the great masters of that fertile time, had died out.

Overshadowed by the past brilliance of the Renaissance, crushed by the weighty magnificence of the epoch of Louis XIV., the history of Art during the reigns of Henri IV. and Louis XIII. has been almost wholly ignored. It is indeed a singularly obscure and complicated period. But it is a period of growth—a most significant and important pause before the opening of a new era. Many crossing currents meet there, from which the well-ordered art of the Siècle ,de Louis XIV. will emerge, rolling on like some vast river, pent in between high banks and well-built quays.

Voltaire has largely helped to bring about this misconception of the 17th century. For in his desire to exalt the ‘Grand Monarque he would make us believe that barbarism reigned in France until the ” beau Siècle de Louis XIV.,” making that epoch begin not with the century but with the King. He declares that “Francois I. fît naître le commerce, la navigation, les lettres et les arts, mais il fut trop malheureux pour bien faire prendre racine en France et tous s` périrent avec lui “. As in Perault’s frontispiece, Voltaire groups round his hero most of the celebrated men of the early half of the 17th century, as well as those of the beginning of the 18th. In fact the legend of Louis XIV. has gradually done for the reign of his father, what the King actually did for his father’s Chateau—when he so smothered the buildings of the Versailles of Louis XIII., that they almost disappeared in his efforts to preserve them. ” And ” for his contemporaries, as for posterity, there remained but ” one Versailles—his own.”

It will be necessary in this chapter to distinguish between those artists whose chief work was accomplished before 1648,. when the founding of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture ushered in the reign of law, order, and correctness, and those of a later date. Although the personal reign of Louis XIV. did not begin till Mazarin’s death in 1661, I prefer for convenience sake to make the deaths of Richelieu and Louis XIII. the limit of this period. In some cases these artists outlived the founding of the Academy. But their best works will be found to belong chiefly to the earlier epoch.

It is important therefore to endeavour to get some idea of the influences, external and internal, which gradually shaped the Art of France from 1589 to 1643.

At the beginning of the 17th century France was no longer the leader of Art, as she had been during the Renaissance. Thought in Europe was in an extraordinary condition of effervescence. It had escaped from the exclusively classic influence of the Renaissance, and became at once more modern and more natural. In England this effervescence of thought attained its supreme expression in the poetry of our Golden Age. In Spain, Cervantes and Calderon, Velasquez and Murillo represent letters and art. With Rembrant and Cuyp, the Dutch School goes straight to nature for its inspiration. Rubens, Van Dyck and Teniers reign in Flanders. In Italy the powerful Bolognese School of the Carraci, Domenichino, Guido, Guercino, which was destined to exercise such a profound influence on the Art of France, is at the height of its fame. Between such giants in thought as Bacon, Torricelli, Galileo, Kepler, Gilbert, Harvey, there was a continual interchange of ideas. The savants of Europe formed ” a scientific and philosophic cosmopolity “. And in science and letters, as in art, ” the centre of gravity was no longer found exclusively ” in Italy “.

During the first half of the 17th century, France was more or less involved in this movement of European thought. ” She took something in art or in literature from Italy, ” Spain, Belgium, adapting it to her instincts, and en-” deavouring to make it agree with her theories. This ” perhaps resulted in some uncertainty, but also in a happy ” variety of aptitudes, tendencies, and productions.” 2 During the latter half of the century it was far otherwise. France tended more and more to concentrate herself upon herself—to shut herself off from all the rest of Europe —in a splendid and dominating isolation. It was the reign of form, of good taste. In it France produced no new ideas : but crystallized those she already possessed, and imposed them on the whole of Europe.

At the accession of Henri IV., the condition of Art had taken a long step in advance since the early days of the Renaissance. Art had now evolved an ideal—an esthetic being. It now endeavoured to bring system, law and order into its existence—in fact, to organize. Art was too important and recognized a factor in the society of the day, to be allowed to continue a haphazard existence. It must be centralized, fostered, watched over, and used, by the King himself. Al-ready we see this endeavour under Henri IV., when, on his return to Paris in 1594 he devoted the entresol of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre to the lodging of artists and skilful workmen in all branches of decorative work. As he said in his letters patent of 1608, he wished to create a ” pépinière ” d’ouvriers, de laquelle, sous l’apprentissage de si bons ” maîtres, il en sortirait plusieurs, qui, peu après se répandraient par tout le royaume et sauraient très bien servir le ” public “. So here we get at once a sort of School of Decorative Art under the eyes of the King, dependent on his will. Instructed too by the ” Illustres “—those masters who were all inscribed on the list of his Valets de Chambre—painters, sculptors, goldsmiths, engravers of precious stones, armourers, tapestry workers, cabinet-makers—honourably lodged within the precincts of the Palace. Already the idea of attaching Art, as everything else, to the person of the Sovereign, which was to find its supreme expression in the epoch of Louis XIV., was beginning to shape itself. Already, in the endeavour to obtain uniformity in the ideal of Art, the first blow was being struck at its liberty, and therefore at its life. For nearly two centuries Art will become more and more official—will drift farther from nature and from truth—until the fire of the Revolution shall purge away the dross, and give it life once more.

The reign of Henri IV. was the time of vast projects. Its most important art was decorative. During his reign and that of Louis XIII., Paris began to take the form we know. When once the troubles of the Ligue were calmed, an immense activity manifested itself in all directions. The Court was less nomadic. The seat of government being fixed in Paris drew thither the noblesse, courtiers, and chiefs of all administrations. Financiers and the magistracy were daily growing richer and of more importance. Power was in the hands of new men such as Sully, Richelieu, Mazarin, and their fellow-workers. All this contributed to the extraordinary growth of the city. The embellishment of the city, to which, says Gomboust, ” Henry IV. and Louis “XIII. seem most to have contributed,” was in great part due to private enterprise.

Paris now overflows its narrow limits and begins to absorb its faubourgs. On the rive droite a new enceinte is made which follows the present line of the Boulevards, from the Place de la Concorde to the northern extremity of the Rue Montmartre. Richelieu’s Palace (the Palais Royal), which he bequeathed to Louis XIIL, and the Rues Vivienne and Richelieu, became an aristocratic centre. While new and splendid dwellings sprang up in the Place Royale (now Place des Vosges), the quartier St. Antoine, the Marais, and round the Arsenal. On the rive gauche the expansion was equally rapid. When Marie de Medicis rebuilt the Palace of the Luxembourg outside the old enceinte, it attracted a population of great nobles and religious orders. And thus the Faubourg Saint Germain grew up—” a most ” agreeable quarter,” as the writers of the day say, ” by ” the mingling of large gardens and great hotels “. While up the Seine, a hitherto desert space of marsh and island

the Ile Saint Louis and Ile de la Cité—was converted between 1614 and 1635 into a new centre, chiefly inhabited by financiers and statesmen. In 1648 it numbered twenty hotels and seventy houses, and from these one can still gather some idea of the Paris of Richelieu. The hotel Lambert, built by Le Vau (1640), is a good specimen of the city architecture of the end of this period, decorated first by Le Soeur and afterwards by Le Brun. The plan of these hotels was much the same. Space was restricted because ground now became dear. Yet room had to be found for a garden and a court, besides the buildings. There was no great façade on to the street, only the servants’ quarters and a wide and lofty porte cochère. This opened into the court-yard, at the end of which rose the main building, joined by two wings to the communs. The garden, when practicable, lay beyond the building ; and no great hotel of the period was without its gallery, which furnished a splendid opportunity for decoration by the chief painters of the day.

Henri IV. and his successor, both took an active part in the architectural movement of their time. For to Henri IV. we owe the completion of the splendid Grande Galerie of the Louvre—that vast line which extends the whole length of the Quays from the Pavillon des Antiques to the Pavillon de Flore. The rez de chaussez of the Grande Galerie was built by Catherine de Medicis as far as the Pavillon Lesdiguières. But to Henri IV. is due that noble façade that faces the Seine between the Pont des Arts and the Pont des Saints Pères. The central gateway, now known as the Porte Jean Goujon, though it was built long, after his death, is one of the best specimens of the period. Built by Métezeau, the brothers Lheureux were authors of the charming friezes, and the sculptors Pierre Biart and Barthelemy Prieur also contributed to its decoration. The extension from the Pavillon Lesdiguières to the Pavillon de Flore, uniting the old Louvre with the Tuileries, was also built by Henri IV. And the whole conception, though marred by certain grave faults in its details, is grandiose in the extreme. But Henri IV.’s activity did not stop here. To quadruple the extent of the Court of the Louvre by doubling the length of the wings, was another of the King’s schemes, which his son realized in part.

In all this building we see the growing passion for well-ordered lines, for huge projects to which every obstacle is sacrificed, which is a most marked feature in French genius. Doubtless much of extreme historic and artistic interest is sacrificed to these vast and well-conceived plans. But on the other hand, the result is imposing and magnificent to a degree not seen in any other country.

If the projects of Henri IV. had been vast, those of Richelieu exceeded them. The great Cardinal delighted in building. In his Palace in Paris, in the Sorbonne, in his Chateau de Rueil, he realized some part of his magnificent conceptions, touched with that gravity which is a mark of his genius. But it was at his native place, Richelieu, that he proposed to give them unlimited sway, by building a whole town, crowned by the Chateau which would surpass any Palace belonging to the King. Of this audacious and magnificent conception hardly anything remains. The town, with its wide streets of enormous houses, is too large for its population. The huge church in the ornate Jesuit style, is nearly empty. The Chateau, grave, cold, austere in its grandeur without—filled within with a sumptuous display of antiques, pictures, tapestries, everything in fact that ministered to the great Cardinal’s taste for splendid intellectual and artistic luxury—was rased to the ground by the Bande Noire. Nothing remains but a few outbuildings. This idea of creating a whole town by sheer authority, is a curious evidence of the personality of the man—of the “mind accustomed to consider the things of the physical “world as dependent on will “.

In the provinces, ” construction,” which is one of the most suitable words to describe the works of this date, was being carried on rapidly. Henri IV. added largely to Fontainebleau.’ Gaston d’Orléans and François Mansart a little later, are responsible for that addition to Blois, which must always cause a shock each time one sees it. Happily it was never finished. But Mansart’s plan was to destroy the whole of the peerless Aile François I. and rebuild it on the plans of the west wing. This, really fine in itself as an example of the architecture of Louis XIIL, becomes an abomination in juxtaposition with one of the chief glories of the Renaissance.

But possibly the most important architectural event out-side Paris,-is the beginning of the Palace of Versailles under Louis XIII.—that Palace round which the whole life of the French Monarchy was to gather for two centuries, making it a priceless museum in which the history of decorative art centres. Of Versailles I shall have so much to say later, for it is an epitome of the whole history of the Art of the 17th and 18th centuries, that I will not dwell upon it here. A mere hunting lodge in the forest was built by Le Mercier for Louis XIII. in 1624, who soon became so attached to it as to desert Saint Germain-en-Laye, which was then his usual residence. The little Chateau was a square building of brick and stone, opening towards Paris into a court, whose walls are now those of the Cour de Marbre.

With regard to religious Architecture, it would be impossible to enumerate the conventual buildings in Paris alone, which sprang up during the early part of the 17th century—the Oratoire, the Feuillantines, Val du Grace, the Capucines, the filles de St. Joseph, the Religieuses of Port Royal, etc., etc. As to Churches, we find after 1610, Saint Gervais. The completion of Saint Eustache in 1642. At Saint Etienne du Mont work goes on ceaselessly. The Oratoire, begun by Métezeau, and finished by Lemercier in 1630. The Visitation, built by François Mansart, 1632-34. Saint Paul et Saint Louis, 1627-41. The Church of the Sorbonne, built by Lemercier. That of Val du Grace. Besides numbers more which were only begun, such as Saint Sulpice, Saint Roch, etc.

Here we find the architects of the time trammelled by their theories derived from antiquity. It is no longer a spontaneous art, such as Gothic, or the pure French Re-. naissance. But the result of reflection and learning. And further, French architects now found themselves in presence of a new style of architecture—the Jesuit style. This, in the hands of that all-powerful body, soon spread all over Europe, and even into the new world. In France it was introduced in 1605 by Martellange, temporal coadjutor of the Society of Jesus. The best example of it in Paris, is the façade of the Church of Saint Paul and Saint Louis, Rue Saint Antoine. Begun in 1627, and finished in 1641, it is a perfect type of the style. Richelieu gave the doorway, and said the first Mass in presence of the King, Queen and Court. It is therefore of special value as bearing a sort of official stamp. The general effect is rich and picturesque. Some of the details are of great beauty. But it is loaded with decoration, a strange jumble of Renaissance and Classic, pieced together ” without the least reference either to the purpose ” for which pillars were originally designed, or to the constructive necessities of the building where they are now-” found “.1 This style lasted but a short time in France. But meanwhile it had influenced all French religious architecture, introducing a certain theatrical element of gaiety in its. singular mixture of painting, sculptures, and endless ornament, which has its own charm, though it may be a debased one.

In comparing the ” Style Louis XIII.” with those that, preceded and succeeded it, a certain poverty of conception strikes us at once. We no longer find the daring, robust imagination of the Renaissance. We have not yet arrived at the severe, classic splendours of Louis XIV. There is grace and a certain charm : but a want of distinct originality. All the work gives a sense of compromise and imitation ; a growing predilection for well-regulated, carefully constructed forms.

In Sculpture, however, we get a decided return to naturalism in the works of Guillaume Dupré, Michel Bourdin, and Simon Guillain. In Dupré’s medals—in Bourdin’s Amador de la Porte—in Guillain’s fine bronzes of Louis XIII. and Anne of Austria from the Pont-au-Change, we see a new pre-occupation with the living model—a desire for truth—which had disappeared for a while in the decadence of the late Renaissance.

In Painting, the influence of Italy, especially of the Venetians, is seen in nearly all the pictures of the time. No longer content with simple portraits or religious pictures, the artists who have studied the grand works of Michael Angelo, Raphael, the Bolognese School, and above all, the Venetians, are fired with the desire to ” faire grand “. And in the new and sumptuous buildings of Paris and the provinces, they get an unexampled opportunity for decorative art. Even the easel pictures show a decorative tendency. It is seen alike in religious, in mythologic, and in historic’ painting. But another point is to be noted. From the be-ginning of the 17th century, religious painting and sculpture are in a condition of decadence. Learning—intellectual effort —has replaced simple faith. And from this moment we get pictures for Churches, instead of religious painting. Some artists will treat their subjects with dignity—even with conviction. But they will see their subject, be it the Deluge or a Holy Family, by an act of intelligence, not an act of faith.


DUBOIS, AMBROISE (b. Antwerp, 1543 ; d. Fontainebleau, 1615.)-Ambroise Dubois is the first painter of the new régime. From henceforth there is, with few exceptions, little uncertainty about the history of well-known artists. We know who were their pupils, often who were their masters. Art, in fact, as I have tried to show, is no longer anonymous, obscure : but carefully signed and well authenticated, by artists who consider themselves descendants of Phidias and Apelles.

In 1568 when Dubois came to Paris, he was already an accomplished artist’; and soon acquired a great reputation. Henri IV. made him painter in ordinary and Valet de Chambre. He was employed at Fontainebleau, where Henri IV. was carrying out important works ; and at the Louvre. And was naturalized in 1601. In 1606 he was appointed painter to Marie de Medicis, and worked at the Luxembourg during her Regency. He was buried in the Church of Avon at Fontainebleau, where his tomb may still be seen.

Dubois formed a school of painters at Fontainebleau. His best pupils were his sons Jean and Louis, Paul his nephew, and Mogras of Fontainebleau.

Of his numerous paintings for the Palace of Fontainebleau under Henri IV., the only ones remaining are some in the-

1. Chapelle-haute of Saint-Saturnin.

2. The series of the history of Théagène et Chariclée. The pictures of this series are mannered, but fine for the time. Five of them were taken from the Queen’s room, when the doors were raised, and are now placed in the antichamber. Three of these are quite the best of the series.

3. Some of the paintings of the History of Tancred and Clorinda for the apartments of Marie de Medicis.

The Galerie de Diane was decorated by Dubois. But the decorations were destroyed during the Empire. Some of the fragments were put on canvas and repainted, under Louis Philippe, and replaced in the Palace in 1840. The Louvre contains two pictures by Dubois :-

1. Chariclée subit l’épreuve du feu, Coll. Henri IV.

2. Baptême de Clorinde.

FRÉMINET, MARTIN (b. Paris, 1567 ; cl. 1619).-With Fréminet we reach the first of that long line of painters whose education was not considered complete until they had studied in Italy. At the age of twenty-three Fréminet went to Italy. He arrived there just as the quarrel between the partisans of Michael Angelo and Josephine was at its height. Though he took the part of the latter, he studied the former and Parma : and stayed for many years in Italy.

In 1603 Henri I. made him his first painter ; and en-trusted him with the decorations of the Chapel of the Ste. Trinité at Fontainebleau. This work, begun in 1608, was interrupted by the King’s assassination in 1610. But it was continued under Louis XIIL ; Fréminet being rewarded by Marie de Medicis in 1615 with the order of Saint Michel. Fréminet was a friend of Régnier, who addressed his tenth satire to him.

His method of painting was a singular one. He painted one part after another of either figure or portrait, without drawing or even sketching in the whole. His Enée abandonnant Didon, in the Louvre, may be explained by this process. It is hard and academic, with no unity either of colour or composition. The decorations in the chapel at Fontainebleau are much superior to this picture. While the architecture is thoroughly Italian, Fréminet’s decorations of the ceiling remain essentially French.

VOUET, SIMON (Paris, 1590-1649).-Simon Vouet is with-out doubt one of the most important figures in the art of the early 17th century. Apart from the merit of his works, he exercised a profound influence on French Art. For he formed most of the best artists of the century, counting among his pupils Le Soeur, Le Brun and Mignard. His own master was his father, a poor and inferior painter. At fourteen, however, the lad already painted so well, that he was selected to go to England and paint the portrait of a lady of quality who had taken refuge there. James I. endeavoured to persuade Vouet to stay. But after a few years he returned to France.

In 1611 he accompanied M. de Harlay to Constantinople. And his portrait of Achmet I.—painted from memory, as he only saw the Grand Turk during the interview with the ambassador—is of special interest. For in it we get the first work of the Orientalists. Vouet left Constantinople the next year for Venice, where he copied Titian and Veronese.

And in 1613 went on to Rome, copying Carvaggio and Valentino, and imitating Guido. After painting a number of successful pictures, he was summoned by the Dorias to Genoa, where he spent two years decorating their palaces. Returning to Rome, he was elected Prince of the Academy of Saint Luke. He was protected by Cardinal Barberini, who became Pope, painting him and his nephews the cardinals. Highly respected, he had thoroughly settled himself in Rome, having married the artist Virginia Vezzo Veltrano, when Louis XIII., from whom he received a pension, recalled him to France in 1627.

On his arrival in Paris with his family and pupils, the King and the Queen-Mother gave him a cordial reception. He was appointed first painter, given a large salary, with lodgings in the Louvre, charged with the drawings for the Royal Tapestries and the decorations of the Louvre and the Luxembourg, besides several works for Saint Germain-en-Laye. He painted all the nobles of the Court, as well as several portraits of Louis XIII. One is in the Louvre (976). And he furthermore taught the King to use pastels well enough to produce a good likeness. In 1632 Richelieu employed him at the Palais Royal and the Chateau de Rueil. In 1634 he painted the famous gallery of the Hotel de Bullion. The next year the gallery of the Maréchal d’Effiat at Chilly. Another for the Duc d’Aumont. The Chapelle Séguier. And the ceiling of the Hotel Breton-villier. Most of the churches in Paris were decorated with his works. ” And no painter perhaps had such a vogue.”‘

Although he worked with extraordinary rapidity, he soon was only able to furnish drawings, which were carried out by his pupils. And often he had not even time to retouch their paintings. M. de Chennevières says of Vouet, that he brought to France on his return from Italy a new taste, a new fashion —that decorative painting, reasonable, correct and pleasing to the eye, which he had learnt in Rome from the Bolognese School—the free, live and vivid style of historical painting, which marks his work and that of his pupils.

As chef d’école he taught the young and brilliant group of artists, his pupils, to apply the ideas he had brought back to his native land. To apply them each in their own fashion — as painters, sculptors, ornamentistes, to the new and sumptuous dwellings which at the moment of his arrival were beginning to spring up, as I have said, all over Paris. In those new hotels of the Place Royale, the Ile Saint Louis, round the Arsenal, in the Quartier Saint-Antoine, the Marais, the Faubourg Saint-Germain, a splendid and almost unique opportunity was offered to the artists of France. And not only did Vouet—to his honour be it spoken —teach his pupils to apply the principles he had studied in the great Italian palaces under Guido, Domenechino, the later Caracci, and to see the charm of the late Venetians —but he impressed upon them the absolute importance of conscientious draftsmanship and scrupulous attention to truth, and to nature, in draperies and attitudes. Keenly alive personally to all harmonies of composition, he excelled in adapting the principles he had learnt abroad, to that ” virility ” of spirit which was current in the noble generation of that ” time,” ” for in Art and Letters this was the Golden Age of ” France “.

Examples. Eight pictures in Louvre :

972. Virgin, Infant Jesus and St. John. 973. Crucifixion. 975. Entombment. 976. Portrait of Louis XIII. 977. Allégorie de la Richesse. 978. Faith.

The Annunciation, Corporation Gallery, Glasgow.

In the singular portrait of Louis XIII., crowned with Bays (976), with two symbolic female figures of France and Navarre claiming his protection, grave faults of arrangement are seen, which produce the odd effect that the King’s protecting hand is slapping the face of Navarre. In 977 and 978 there is a certain charm of colour, especially in the fine yellows, orange, and flaming heart. Though it must be conceded that the latter has nothing whatever to do with ” Faith “. 973 and 975 are fine and interesting works of a much higher and more serious order.

STELLA, JACQUES (b. Lyons, 1596; d. Louvre, 1657).-The family of Jacques Stella originally came from Flanders, François, the painter’s father, settling at Lyons when his son was only nine years old. From his childhood Jacques Stella showed considerable talent. At the age of twenty he went to Florence. Here Cosmo de Medicis employed him for decorations at the fêtes in honour of his son Ferdinand’s marriage ; and gave him lodgings and the same allowance he was already giving to Jacques Callot the engraver. After spending seven years in Florence, Stella and his brother François went on to Rome. Here he stayed for twelve years, studying the antique and painting numbers of pictures. A close friendship sprang up between him and Poussin, whose manner he endeavoured to imitate, Poussin preserving a warm and paternal affection to the end of his life for the family of this companion of the best years of his studies.

In spite of many offers from Italy and Spain, Stella returned in 1634 to Paris, Richelieu positively forbidding him to go to Spain by invitation of the King, who had seen and admired his work. The Cardinal gave him an allowance of 1000 livres and lodgings in the Louvre. While ten years later he received the Cross of Saint Michel, and the brevet of first Painter to the King.

It has been suggested that a certain tendency towards familiar subjects rather than to the finest spirit of antiquity, of which, however, there are traces in his pictures, shows that he was perhaps unconsciously faithful to the Flemish tradition. His pictures were engraved by the best engravers of the day : especially by his niece Claudine Stella. And besides his pictures, there are engravings of numerous graceful sets of children’s games, vases, goldsmiths’ designs, and architectural ornaments, with which he amused himself in the winter evenings.

The Louvre possesses (501) a small and very artificial example of Stella’s work—a picture, painted on Oriental Alabaster, of Christ receiving the Virgin into Heaven.

BLANCHARD, JACQUES, ” LE TITIEN FRANÇAIS ” (Paris, 1600-1638).—Blanchard went to Rome in 1624. He spent two years working there. He then visited Venice, where he made a special study of Titian, bringing back to France that richer palette of the Venetians which distinguishes his work. So close indeed was his study of the Venetians, that he was known as ” Le Titien Français,” a title he certainly never deserved. But his pictures—especially his Holy Families—were much sought after, and he painted with extreme facility. He only had two pupils—his son Gabriel ; and Louis de Boullongue, one of the founders of the Academy.

Of his four pictures in the Louvre, the finest (26) is a large three-quarter length, ” St. Paul in Meditation “. Here Titian’s influence is very evident.


ANDROUET DU CERCEAU, JACQUES II. (1556-1614).-Jacques II., son of Jacques I., is closely identified with the reign of Henri IV. He had been known as an architect for ten or twelve years before the King’s accession, working under his elder brother, Jean-Baptiste, on the Pont Neuf, and on the rez de chaussez of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre. In 1690, on his brother’s death, Henri IV. gave his position to Jacques II. But replaced him in 1694 by Louis Métezeau, who was made ” Ordonnateur des Batiments du roi, et architecte en ordinaire “. This appointment Du Cerceau opposed vehemently, but in vain. Two years later his suit was rejected, and he was made to rank second. He, however, fortified Melun and Pontoise for the King, and in 1598 became his private architect. He made plans for the Chateau de Pau and the city of Nérac. He also finished the Chateau de Montceau and that of Verneuil for the King’s two favourites.

It is probable that in spite of his secondary position under Métezeau, he had a good deal to do with the completion of the Grande Galerie, as far as the Pavillon Lesdiguières. The second part, begun in 1600 and finished in 1609, from that point to the Pavillon de Flore, is certainly Du Cerceau’s work. It is far from sharing the piquancy and charm of the earlier portion. Colossal Corinthian pilasters 40 feet high in couples, adorn the façade, with no reference to the external structure or to the interior arrangements. ” As usual also, the entablature is cut through by ” the windows ; and a series of pediments, alternately semi-” circular and straight-lined, give a broken line, which aggravates instead of mitigating the overpowering heaviness of ” the roof.” This correct and frigid architecture foreshadows a new tendency in French Architecture, which is soon to for-sake its gay and original inspirations for more rigid, more severe, more classic rules.

In 1602, when Du Cerceau acquired the house his brother had built in the Pré-aux-Clercs, he is styled controlleur et architecte des batiments du roi. And in 1608 receives a pension of 1200 livres as architecte du roi. In the same year the King gave him the droits seigneuriaux of La Chastre, Launay and the forest of Pichery. Some attribute the plans of the new Palace of Saint-Germain to Du Cerceau ; others to Dupérac. He was certainly architect for the enlargement of the Hotel de Condé, when the Duc de Bellegarde acquired it in 1611.

He died in Paris in 1614, and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery.

MÉTEZEAU, LoUis (b. Dreux, about 1559 ; d. Paris, 1615). —Louis Métezeau was made controller and architect of the Royal buildings in 1594, ousting Du Cerceau, Jacques II., from the post. In 1605 he was created architect in ordinary to the King, and ” garde des meubles du Palais des Tuileries,” with a salary of 2400 livres Tournois. He is further de-scribed as ” écuyer, sieur de Germainville et de Bressac, près Dreux “.—A man of mark. He almost certainly made the plans for the Pavillon des Antiques (i.e., the ground floor of the Galerie d’Apollon). The first floor of the Petite Galerie, attributed falsely to Coing and Tournier, who were only the contractors. The plans for the great pavilion near the Pavillon Lesdiguières. And the alterations in that part of the Grande Galerie built before Henri IV.’s accession.

To Métezeau also are due the designs for the old Porte de la Bibliothèque, now known as the ” Porte Jean Goujon,” with its columns, balcony, attic, and rich pediment. Lastly Métezeau was the author of the great works at Fontainebleau under Henri IV. To him we owe the Galerie de Diane (now the Library). The Cour des Princes. The buildings of the Cour des Offices. The porte du Dauphin—that curious building crowned by a dome, which closes the interesting Cour Ovale. Built in honour of the baptism of Louis XIII., who was five years old, it presents a singular mixture of Tuscan orders, columns, masques of Tragedy and Comedy, initials of Henri IV. and Marie de Medicis, and dolfins (dauphins) intertwined instead of volutes on the capitals.

DE BROSSE, SALOMON 1 (Verneuil, 1565-1626).—Son of ,Jehan de Brosse architect to the Reine Margot, a nephew of Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques II., De Brosse was first employed by his uncle. In 1613 he gives receipts for sums paid to him for works on the Hotel of the Duc de Bouillon, of which he was both designer and contractor. Upon the death of Du Cerceau he became architect to the Queen-Mother ; and began his great work, her palace of the Luxembourg, finished in 1620 ; also the Fontaine de Medicis. Marie de Medicis allowed him 1200 livres a year. And from 1615 to 1625 he received 2400 livres as architecte du roi.

From 1616 to 1621 he was engaged on the front of St. Gervais. And between 1619 and 1622 he rebuilt the Grande Salle of the Palais de Justice, which had been burnt in 1618. He also furnished plans for the Aqueduct of Arcueil, begun in 1613 and finished in 1624: for the Chateau de Coulommiers, destroyed in 1737; and for the Palais des Etats de Rennes, completed by Courneau in 1654. The Chateau de Montceaux has been attributed to him, but wrongly, as it was built by Du Cerceau before De Brosse is even mentioned.

Fergusson considers the Luxembourg the most satisfactory building of that period. In plan it is essentially French. But in its sobriety one is reminded ” that it was. ” built for a Medici, who insisted that the Pitti and other ” palaces of her beloved Florence should form the key-note ” of the design “.

LE MERCIER, JACQUES (b. Pontoise, about 1585 ; el. 1654). —In 1607 Le Mercier went to Rome to complete his studies. And while there he gave the plans, Sauvai says, for the Church of Saint Louis – des – Francais, and began its construction. Immediately on his return to France he was employed on the Louvre, with 700 livres salary. In 1613 he rebuilt the Hotel de Bouillon or de la Rochefoucauld, Rue de Seine. Four years later, as architecte du roi, he began the old buildings at Versailles of the Cour d’Honneur—now known as the Cour de Marbre—the nucleus round which the whole. of the magnificent palace was to grow up in the next reign.

In 1624 one of his greatest works was begun. For in this year Richelieu ordered him to draw up plans for the. completion of the Louvre. Le Mercier adopted Métezeau’s old plan. He proposed to add a central pavilion to the West and South wings, which were already built. Beyond these pavilions the wings were to be repeated. And on the North and East sides they were to be reproduced ; thus forming a vast court. This has eventually been done : but with many modifications, of which I must speak in the next. chapter. Le Mercier began his work by pulling down the North wing and the old Tour de la Librairie. He built the pavillon de l’Horloge, keeping closely to the dispositions of Lescot’s work—for which he had a deep respect—in the rez de chaussez, first floor, and attic. Above the attic he placed another storey with lofty round-headed bays, and adorned by four groups of cariatides by Jacques Sarazin. This storey he finished with three concentric pediments ; and crowned the whole by a lofty Dome. He then completed the further buildings of the West side, closely copying Lescot’s wing, to the angle of the court (now Galleries of French Sculpture). And in 1640 began the North side. He was, however, only able to finish the rez de chaussez, as far as the central Pavilion.

While this work on the Louvre was going on, Le Mercier was largely employed in other directions by Richelieu. In 1629 he began the Palais Cardinal, finished in 1636. This is now the Palais Royal. And nothing remains of Le Mercier’s Palace but the gallery des Proues, facing the inner fountain court. In the same year Le Mercier furnished plans for the Cardinal’s Church of the Sorbonne, and super-intended the works until his death. In 1631 he undertook the building of the magnificent Chateau de Richelieu,) finished in 1637. And then gave plans for the Church.

He began the Church of Saint Roch in 1633, building the choir and part of the nave. In the same year he succeeded François Mansart at the Church of Val-du-Grace, then only 10 feet above the soil. He carried it up to the cornice of the great order of pilasters. And in 1651 built the Chapel of the Saint Sacrement. About 1635 he was appointed architect in ordinary and first architect to the King, with a salary of 3000 livres.

The first Theatre of the Palais Royal, the Hotels Colbert, de Liancourt, and de Longueville, engraved by Marot, etc., were Le Mercier’s work. Outside Paris he built the Chateau and Church of Rueil for Richelieu. And at Fontainebleau carried on the buildings of the Chapel de la Ste. Trinité ; decorated the Chambre du Roi ; and replaced Gilles le Breton’s beautiful stairway in the Cour du Cheval Blanc by the existing one. As an engineer, Richelieu made him draw up plans for a great canal round Paris, which should contribute to its defence. But the canal was never made.

Besides his buildings, Le Mercier published Le Magnifique Chateau de Richelieu.

A noble portrait by Philippe de Champaigne, engraved by Edelinck, shows us what manner of man was the favourite architect of the great Cardinal.

MANSART, FRANÇOIS (Paris, 1598-1666).-His father was styled ” Charpentier du roi “.

So much of Mansart’s most important work was done in the reign of Louis XIII. that it is necessary to class him with the architects of this period. His first work was the Church of the Visitation des Filles de Sainte-Marie, Rue Saint Antoine (now the Temple Protestante), built on the model of N. D. des Anges in Rome. In 1634 he also restored and added to the Hotel Carnavalet. In 1635 he built the Hotel de la Vrillière, now the Banque de France. And in the same year Gaston d’Orléans entrusted him with those unfortunate alterations at Blois—the great unfinished building which closes the court on the West—replacing the early wing with its charming arcade and varied motives, which we only now see in Du Cerceau’s 1 book, the Excellents Bastiments.

In 1642 Mansart built the Chateau de Maisons, near Saint-Germain-en-Laye, for René de Longueil. This is one of the most remarkable examples of the country chateaux of the new order of men and things. In 1645 he built the rez de chaussez, having furnished plans for the whole—of the Monastery and Church of Val-du-Grace. Colbert consulted him on plans for finishing the Louvre. He furnished sketches, but without wishing to tie himself irrevocably to them ; and thus lost this great work.

The list of his works is a long one.

In Paris The front of the Monastery of the Feuillants.

The high Altars of the Filles Dieu, hopital de la Trinité, and Saint-Martin-des-Champs.

The Church of the Darnes Sainte-Marie, Chaillot. Front of the Church of the Minimes, Quartier St. Antoine.

The Hotel Mazarin (now Bibliothèque Nat.), Rue de Richelieu.

Hotels de Jars and de Coislin, Rue de Richelieu. Hotels Conti, Bouillon, d’Albret. The door of the Hotel Guénégaud. Hotel d’Aumont, Rue de Jouy. Hotel de Fienbert, Quai Saint Paul. Hotel de Chateauneuf, Rue Coquillière.

In the provinces :

Chateau de Fresnes, between Claye and Meaux. Chateaux de Berny and de Bercy. Chateau de

Balleroy, Calvados. Chateau La Ferté Reuilly, Indre.

Parts of Chateaux Choisy sur Seine, La Ferté St. Aubin (Loiret), and Petit Bourg, on the Seine between Paris and Corbeil. Also some of the buildings of Coulommiers, Richelieu and Gèvres en Brie.

The Hotel de Ville of Troyes is also attributed to Mansart.

From what we know of Mansart, as well as by what we see of his works, it is evident that he was thoroughly imbued with Classic doctrines. ” He drew his inspiration from an-” tiquity and from Italy. The pediment, the column or ” pilaster, and above all, the cupola, the inevitable cupola, ” these were his great means of action.”


BARTHÉLEMY PRIEUR (b. 1540—50 ; d. 1611).—A pupil of Germain Pilon, Barthélemy Prieur succeeded his master as first sculptor to the King in 1598. But many of his most important works were done years before, when he worked with Bullant for the Montmorencys. He was employed at Êcouen, the Louvre, Fontainebleau, the Célestins, the Church of Montmorency, and St. Denis. At the Louvre we owe to Barthélemy Prieur ” the reclining ” figures, representing Fames and geniuses, which decorate “the tympanum of each arcade on the petite galerie”.’ At Fontainebleau he cast the bronze of the Diane a la Biche, now in the Louvre, for Henri IV.’s fountain in the Queen’s Garden. Only the two statues remain of the splendid Mausoleum which Madeleine de Savoie caused Bullant to erect to her husband the Constable Anne de Montmorency. They are now in the Louvre, and in them Prieur has returned to the traditional forms of the Middle Ages. The Constable’s is a grand and stately figure. The Duchess’s effigy is very fine ; the chisel simple and noble. His monument supporting the urn which contained the Constable’s Heart; from the Church of the Celestins, is very inferior to those of the earlier Renaissance.

Lenoir formally attributes to Prieur the two academic figures in bronze of the tomb of Christophe de Thou, from the Church of Saint André des Arts (Louvre). The bust of De Thou above them is also attributed to him, and may well be his. And a further attribution is the kneeling figure of Marie de Barbançon-Cany, first wife of Auguste de Thou, in the Salle de Pujet. This is a very lovely figure of a most lovely woman, with a fine distinguished face, as of a drawing by Clouet, kneeling on one side of her lord, with a little dog upon her dress. The whole monument is by Anguier. But this charming statue is by quite another hand.

JEAN DE BOLOGNE, Or JEAN DE DOUAI (Douai, 1524-1608). — Sculptor and architect like his master Michael Angelo—Jean de Bologne lived almost continually in Italy, where most of his works are to be found, notably the celebrated fountain of Bologna. His great Henri IV. for the Pont Neuf was not finished at his death : but was completed by his pupils Franqueville and Bordoni, and brought by them to Paris. Destroyed at the Revolution, the fragments are in the Louvre. The four nations in the guise of slaves chained at its foot, are now attributed to Franqueville (b. 1548).

Jean de Bologne made a series of little compositions cast in bronze, which were sent all over Europe, and were the delight of the amateurs of the period. Richelieu had a complete set. There were many in the Royal Garde Robe, of which some are still in the Louvre. And with one of these an interesting experiment was made lately. It was photographed and then enlarged upon the screen, when the result was disastrous for Jean de Bologne, as the whole thing appeared out of proportion and drawing. The same experiment with one of the exquisite Ivories of the early 14th century, produced a magnificently proportioned statue, perfect in every detail.

DUPRÉ, GUILLAUME (b. 1610).—Married to a daughter of Barthélemy Prieur, Dupré became sculptor and Valet de Chambre du roi. In 1604 he was made controller of the effigies of the mint, and of the ” fontes d’artillerie “.

The day after the assassination of Henri IV., Dupré and Jacquet modelled busts in wax of the King. Jacquet’s was preferred, and displayed at the funeral—he was the author of the Henri IV. of the Belle Cheminée at Fontainebleau. But curiously enough, Dupré’s wax has at last been found, according to M. Bapst. For the wax bust of the King, at Chantilly, can, he believes, be by no other artist than Guillaume Dupré.

Dupré’s handling of bronze was most remarkable. And his glory are his medals. The first was made in 1597, representing Henri IV. as Hercules, with Gabrielle d’Estrées on the reverse.

The portrait bust of Dominique de Vic, Vicomte d’Ermenonville in the Louvre, is a very beautiful and remarkable work of art, dated 1610.

BOURDIN, MICHEL (1579-1640), was one of the artists in whose works we see the distinct naturalist tendency of this period.

His Amador de la Porté, Grand Prieur de France, from the Priory of the Temple, is a fine kneeling figure, (now in Louvre). In this, Bourdin has not endeavoured to flatter his model : but to make the man’s portrait a life-like and characteristic one. The stout, rather heavy-faced personage is only distinguished by his air of simplicity and bonhomie, which the artist has given with striking truth.

His other works are the statue of Louis XI. for the Church of N. D. de Cléry (1622), and an effigy in 1610, of Henri IV.

GUILLAIN, SIMON (b. Cambray, 1581 ; d. 1658).-Simon Guillain, the son of a sculptor of some reputation at Cam-bray, was the third of the naturalist sculptors of the period. His Flemish origin displays itself in his work. Belonging to the maîtrise (see next chapter) through his father and his brother-in-law Cochet, as well as in his own right, he quitted it on the founding of the Academy. But his chief work was done before this date—as in 1648 he was already sixty-seven.

He must have been a picturesque and original personality. Guillet de Saint-Georges represents him with a ” fine figure, ” quick temper, and that touch of pride of the man who feels ” he is worth something, and is not afraid of blows “. It seems he was the terror of robbers, who abounded even in Paris. He went out armed with a sort of flail with steel points hidden under his cloak, with which he charged his assailants, “breaking the swords with which he was op-” posed “. Guillain, like most of his contemporaries, went to Italy. But unlike them, antiquity and mythology bore a small part in his work. Most of it was religious statuary. His chief works were the statues of the Façade of St. Gervais. The retable of the High Altar at St. Eustache. Twelve or more statues for the Church of the Sorbonne. Figures of the Virgin, Saint Theresa, etc., at the Carmes Déchaussées. The Mausoleum of Catherine de la Trémouille at the Ave-Maria—this is now in the Louvre (705), a self-conscious kneeling figure. And finally the great monument which adorned the Pont du Change.

The three bronze figures of Louis XIIL, Anne of Austria, and Louis XIV. as a little boy, are now in the Louvre. ” These are works of the first class, which perhaps have no ” analogy in the painting or in the sculpture of the time. ” The little Louis XIV., in his royal costume, so thoroughly ” a child, yet with something which already betrays the “monarch ; Louis XIII., whose affected, and at the same ” time martial air, the artist has succeeded in rendering, by ” very delicate nuances—here is reality—true and historic. ” The Anne of Austria is even better. Guillain has expressed ” in her, all the expansion of life, all the pride of race. The ” queen is at once Queen and Woman.”

Guillain was not only able to see the truth of nature, but to reproduce it. He united suppleness and breadth of execution with careful observation.

Versailles possesses a fine portrait of Guillain, by Noël Coypel (3403), seated before the model of his monument on the Pont du Change.

SARRAZIN, JACQUES (b. Noyon, 1588, cl. 1660).-Although Sarrazin lived until 1660, he must be placed with the masters of the early 17th century ; for no artist had such a vogue during the reign of Louis XIII. He came to Paris in 1608, studying there under Nicholas Guillain. In 1610 he went to Rome, where he remained for eighteen years. He then returned to Paris, and never left it until his death.

His works were in nearly every church in Paris. He was employed by the Marquis d’Effiat at Chilly. By Richelieu at Rueil. By M. de Longueil at Maisons. But above all Sarrazin was the chosen sculptor of the Crown ; and as such we find him at the Louvre. Here he was the author of the great cariatides supporting the Dome of Le Mercier’s Pavillon de l’Horloge. For these he made models which were carried out by Gilles Guerin, and Buyster and Van Opstal, the Flemish sculptors. These sculptors also worked under him upon the ” Renommées,” the trophies, lions, masks, etc., on the building. ” The conception of the “cariatides is beautiful and elegant : it is distinct both “from the inspirations of the 16th and 17th centuries ; “this perhaps has not been sufficiently noticed. It is “neither Goujon, Pilon, or Bernini. The personality of “the artist is revealed in the delicacy, the soft suavity, ” the abstraction one may almost say of these great figures.”

The tomb of Henri de Condé—now reconstructed in the Chapel at Chantilly—is without doubt his chief work. While his contemporaries turned for their thoughts to Ariosto or Tasso, Sarrazin went back as far as Petrarch. The idea of the monument is borrowed in great measure from the ” Triomphes “. He gives us the Triumphs of Death, Fame, Time and Eternity, in a series of bas-reliefs, while four great bronze figures—Religion, Justice, Piety, Valour, and little genii of sorrow, adorn the magnificent monument. Though in these ideas we find in place of human sentiment a sort of moral rhetoric, the figures are noble in the extreme, and suitable, according to the spirit of the age, to surround the tomb of the illustrious dead. But though most of the bas-reliefs are in direct imitation of the antique, with Roman Soldiers and Eagles, in the Triumph of Death there is a certain realistic grandeur which is impressive.

Besides this Sarrazin was the sculptor of the tomb of de Bérulle for the Church of the Carmelites ; and the monument in the Church of Saint Paul, in memory of Louis XIII.

BIARD, PIERRE (b. 1559 ; d. 1609),-was the author of the remarkable Jubé of St. Étienne-du-Mont—a unique work of its kind. It was begun in 1600, and is happily intact. Two very important monuments were erected by Biard for the duc d’Épernon, Henri III.’s mignon. The first was the Mausoleum of his wife, Marguerite de Foix, at Cadillacsur-Garonne. The second, the tomb of her brother the Bishop of Aire, at Bordeaux. These were both destroyed in 1792. The marble statues were broken—the columns used for Altars to la Patrie—the bronze statues sent to Rochefort for cannons. The bronze Fame, however, which surmounted the Mausoleum of Cadillac, was saved on account of its beauty by a librarian, the citizen Rayet, and is now in the Louvre. It is an extraordinary work of life and realism ; and gives Pierre Biard an important position in French Sculpture.