History of French Renaissance

The French Renaissance is an artistic and cultural movement located in France between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 17th centur. Stage of modern times , the Renaissance appears in France after the beginning of the movement in Italy and its spread in other European countries.

As in Italy , its characteristic features are the thirst for life, the trust in man , the appetite for knowledge , the spirit of free examinatio. This movement challenges the mentalities of the Middle Ages and seeks new forms of life and civilizatio. Indeed, the possibilities of diffusion of the information by the printing press , and the discovery of a new world beyond the Atlantic, profoundly modify the vision of the world of the men of this time .

The French Renaissance is the time of painters, sculptors who are used by kings whose most emblematic of the period are Francis I and Henry I. It is the time of Leonardo da Vinci that ends his life at Clos Lucé , but also the creation of the School of Fontainebleau and the arrival of the Medici in Paris in the sixteenth century .

The Renaissance in France is divided into four parts. The first act is the style Louis XII (1495-1530 approximately) forming the transition between the Gothic style and the Renaissanc. This first style, however, declined in 1515, especially in the Loire Valley , where the full acceptance of the Italian Renaissance is felt more quickly. As in Italy , three phases stand out until the beginning of the 17th century , a First and a Second French Renaissance ending with Mannerism .

Strengthening the monarchy: sovereignty
In France, the Renaissance is specific that, after the reign of Louis XI , the power of the king is accentuated on his vassals. We gradually move from a regime of suzerainty to a regime of sovereignty .

In fact, the evolution of warfare techniques has an indirect influence on this change. The defense of castles becomes progressively ineffective due to the invention of new longer range weapons of war ( bombards ), so new defensive systems have to be imagined.

The inefficiency of the French army during certain episodes of the Hundred Years War ( Battle of Agincourt , 1415 , in particular) is revealing of this change .

The feudal lords, whose “privileges” in medieval society are compensated by their responsibility to the surrounding population in the event of aggression by the local community, no longer have the same role. They took military responsibilities at the “national” level and not at the local level (in modern language), nevertheless retaining their privileges .

The hierarchy of suzerainties is upset. It is therefore necessary to redefine the reciprocal responsibilities of the monarch, who has become the guarantor of the security of the unified country. The main theoretician of the definition of the principle of sovereignty is Jean Bodin .

Francis I is thus one of the first French monarchs, in the true sense of the word (in the feudal system, kings are suzerains of their vassals, who took an oath of allegiance). Absolutism , strictly speaking, appears only with Henri IV , whose responsibilities are increased following the Edict of Nantes ( 1598 ), and especially with Louis XIII (under the strong influence of Richelieu ), and with Louis XIV , supported on this point by Bossuet .

The four phases of the French Renaissance (1495-early 17th century)
The Renaissance in France is divided into four parts. The first act is the Louis XII Style (circa 1495-1530) forming the transition between the Gothic style and the Renaissanc. This first style, however, declined in 1515, especially in the Loire Valley , where the full acceptance of the Italian Renaissance is felt more quickly. As in Italy , three phases stand out until the beginning of the 17th century , a First and a Second French Renaissance ending with Mannerism .

At every stage of its development, the art of the French Renaissance has remained an original art, born from a meeting between Italian models, Flemish artists and French particularities. The models have however changed a lot between 1495 and 1610 since the French have successively admired the art of the end of the Quattrocento , that of the High Renaissance and Mannerism . From these successive meetings came an artistic production that was abundant, disorderly, sometimes difficult to grasp. When we take stock, two essential facts appear: The ” modern ” French art took shape through the great works of the mid- sixteenth century while around the royal castle of Fontainebleau , “real new Rome”, was born under the will of king François Ier a major artistic center, which was the only one in Europe to be able to compete with the big Italian centers and which one will call the School of Fontaineblea.

The new situation thus created controls the future: It announces the assertion of a “national” style in the middle of the 17th century and the future role played by Versaille.

The Louis XII style: transition between Gothic and Early Renaissance (1495-1525 / 1530)
The Louis XII style (1495 to 1525/1530), is a transition style, a very short passage between two dazzling eras, the Gothic period and the Renaissanc. He describes a time when the decorative art starting from the Gothic arch and Gothic naturalism will move towards the full arch and the soft and round forms mixed with stylized antique motifs typical of the First Renaissance : there is still a lot of gothic at the castle of Blois , there is more at the tomb of Louis XII at Saint-Deni.

From 1495, a colony of Italian artists was installed in Amboise and worked in collaboration with masons French masons. This date is generally considered to be the starting point of this new artistic movement. In a general way, the structure remains French, only the decor changes and becomes Italian . It would be unfortunate, however, to determine this new style with the only Italian contribution: Relations exist between the French architectural production and that of the Spanish platéresque 10 and the influence of the North, especially of Antwerp is notable as well in the decorative arts as in the art of painting and stained glass.

The limits of the Louis XII Style are quite variable, especially when it comes to the province outside the Loire Valle. In addition to the seventeen years of the reign of Louis XII (1498-1515), this period includes the end of the reign of Charles VIII and the beginning of that of Francis I , starting the artistic movement in 1495 to bring it to an end around 1525/1530 5 : The year 1530 corresponding to a real stylistic turn, which follows the creation by François I , of the School of Fontainebleau , is generally considered the full acceptance of the Renaissance style 4 , . In the decorative work of the end of the period of Charles VIII , there is a marked tendency to separate from the arched arch to get closer to the full arc. The influence of Bramante’s productions in Milan for Ludovic Sforza is perceptible in the lower part of the Charles VIII wing at Amboise Castle 4 : if the upper part of the building is Gothic , the facade of the guards’ walkway presents such a loggia , a series of semicircular arches that mark the rhythmic spans of smooth pilasters. In general, the ornamental forms already have not the particular grace of the ogival period , the rhythm of the facades is organized more regularly with the superposition of the openings in spans and the shell, important element of the Renaissance decoration, makes already his appearance.

This development is particularly noticeable at the Château de Meillant, whose embellishment work wanted by Charles II of Amboise began in 1481: if the structure remained fully medieval , the superposition of the windows in spans interconnected by a pinnacle cord, announces the grid of facades under the First Renaissanc. Likewise, there is the classical oval entablature surmounted by a gothic balustrade and the Tempietto treatment of the upper part of the spiral staircase with its series of semicircular arches with shells.

If at the end of the reign of Charles VIII , the contribution of Italian ornaments come to enrich the flamboyant repertory, there is from now on under Louis XII a whole French school which opens with italy with new proposals, thus establishing the principles of a transition style .

In sculpture the systematic contribution of Italian elements or even the ” gothic ” reinterpretation of Italian Renaissance achievements is evident in the Saint sepulcher of Solesmes where the Gothic structure takes the form of a Roman triumphal arch flanked by pilasters with Lombard candelabr. The Gothic foliage, now more jagged and languid like the Cluny Hotel in Paris , mingle with tondi with portraits of Roman emperors at the Château de Gaillon .

In architecture, the use of the “brick and stone”, however present on the buildings as of the xiv E century, tends to generalize ( castle of Ainay-le-Vieil , Wing Louis XII of the castle of Blois , the hotel of Alluye de Blois ). The high French roofs with corner turrets and spiral staircase facades continue the tradition but the systematic superimposition of the windows, the skylights and the appearance of influenced loggias of the villa Poggio Reale and the Castel Nuovo of Naples are the manifesto of a new decorative art where the structure remains deeply Gothi. The spread of ornamental vocabulary from Pavia and Milan has therefore a major role while being perceived as the arrival of a certain modernity.

In this rapidly evolving art, gardens become more important than architecture : The arrival in Amboise of Italian artists whose Pacello da Mercogliano was originally under Charles VIII of the creation of the first gardens of the French Renaissance thanks to new landscaping creations , the installation of a menagerie and agronomic acclimatization work conducted from 1496 to the ” Jardins du Roy ” then located within the royal domain of Château-Gaillard. In 1499, Louis XII entrusted the realization of the gardens of the Château de Blois to the same team that was subsequently hired by Georges d’Amboise to create flower beds on different levels under his Château de Gaillon.

In conclusion, the Louis XII style shows that we now want to astonish the French as the Italians: It is from the fantasy with which are incorporated the Italian novelties in the still medieval French structures that will be born around 1515/1520 the First Renaissance.

The First Renaissance (1515 to 1530/1540)
Just like the previous period, the most obvious manifestation of the First Renaissance in France is expressed by the construction of residential castles not only in the Loire Valley and Ile-de-France but also in some provinces further south such as Berry , Quercy and Périgord ( Château d’Assier and Montal ) which, after having recovered from the aftermath of the Hundred Years War , see their large families go into debt over several generations in order to modernize the medieval structures pre-existing .

However it is indeed in Touraine that will be built the largest castles of the French Renaissance.

If from the end of the fifteenth century, the transitional process of the Louis XII Style , gradually imposes the forms of the Early Renaissance 6 , from the years 1515/1520 , the arrival of a new wave of Italian artists, more numerous than before, will have a great influence on French art, creating a real rupture: The Gothic forms end up being gradually diluted in the Italian decorum . This development is particularly sensitive to the portal of the Church of Saint Maurille de Vouziers , where a classicizing ornamentation masks the still Gothic structure .

Unlike the previous period, the main protagonist is no longer the entourage of the king, but Francis I , himself, who behaving as a humanist monarch , becomes one of the primary players in this stylistic evolution . By imposing himself in the arts, he wants to be a patron and guide of his people and of Christendom, without renouncing his military role .

This is how he uses Italian artists for the construction of his castles . These literary craftsmen will then have a great aura about the French masons masons : The alleged architect of Chambord , Domenico Bernabei da Cortona would have been nicknamed ” Boccador “, mouth of gold in Italian, taken here in the sense of “words of gold”.

However, throughout the French Renaissance, the plan of the buildings will remain traditional and the architectural elements will remain freely inspired by the new art of Lombard. Never, perhaps, has French architecture been more elegant, light and fancy than during this artistic period. A particular flavor emerges from the buildings of the Val de Loire, where the traditional French master masons, full of verve, accept only regretfully the new architecture by always matching the structure with the form and combine with bold silhouettes and picturesque Middle Ages , the decoration of the Italian Renaissance .

Thus, in line with the style of Louis XII , we keep throughout the period the national traditions such as high roofs : The Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye being the only one to be covered with terrace. If the progress of the artillery had made any defensive apparatus such as towers , machicoulis , aliasing or castles of the castles useless, they are still preserved by tradition . However, all these elements of defense are emptied of their substance to be transformed into so many decorative elements. Thus, in many buildings, such as Chenonceau castle , La Rochefoucauld , Villandry or as was the case in Azay-le-Rideau (remodeled in the nineteenth century), the permanence of the dungeon does not justifies only by the seigniorial symbol that he represents; its military function being now supplanted by that of prestige and pomp .

In this movement, the towers of the castles of the Middle Ages become in Azay-le-Rideau , graceful turrets corbelled corners while the battlements of the walkway develop into small windows, transforming this space into a pleasant gallery of circulation . Characteristic appeared with the Louis XII Style , the windows of the facades have their doorframe which connects from floor to floor, forming a kind of bay completed in skyligh. This grid pattern, which can be found in Blois or Chambord , gives a feeling of regularity, often “fictional”, to the elevations, while emphasizing the horizontal and the vertical, while the multiplication of chimneys and bell-tacks seeming to form a crown to the building, is a last reflection of medieval fantasy.

If the architecture is now largely open to the outside, the decorative richness remains reserved for the courtyard, especially for the central motif of the staircase. Obsession generally foreign to the Italian Renaissance, the staircase is then considered as the French element around which gravitate the whole castle: The polygonal tower in hors d’oeuvre, preserved in the wing François I of the castle of Blois , is gradually replaced by a ramp on ramp, which is much more than an Italian innovation, seems to belong to the repertoire of the West of France since {{| XV}} .

If the facade of the lodges of the castle of Blois brings a certain modernity, by its openings in row on the outside, inspired by the courtyard of the Belvedere of the Vatican , the use of the Roman model of Bramante is modified and subjected to the medieval structure pre-existing . Unfinished, this facade could not receive an Italianate decor comparable to the François I wing on courtyard. Nevertheless, it remains representative of the various researches carried out during the First Renaissance: By substituting the solid and sharp profiles for the sharp edges of the Gothic molding , it marks a progress in the imitation of the ancient models .

This interpretation of Bramante’s achievements, even if it does not respect the ancient orders , is found in the superimposition of the framed arches of pilasters adorning the courtyards of the castle of La Rochefoucauld and Chambor.

First realization ex nihilo , the castle of Chambord is an appointment of hunts and court feasts, conceived as a theatrical place little inhabited . The presence of Leonardo da Vinci and Boccador , brings a reflection on the French castle in contact with the Italian Renaissanc. While the towers of the Middle Ages had no other day than the cracks of the archers , an overlay of pilastered windows here largely illuminate the building while the crenellated coronet disappears for the first time . The exuberant decor is particularly attached to the roofs bristling with stumps of fireplaces, dormers or turrets , all furnished with lozenges or slate discs, tabernacles and culs-de-lampe treated in the style of Italy. from the North, while evoking the black marble inlays of the Chartreuse of Pavia where Francis I was a prisoner. While the development of symmetrical apartments for residential use is a novelty, the organization of the plan remains traditional, reminiscent of the Château de Vincennes , with a central keep surrounded by an enclosure where is the courtyard and the Commons . The initial project of 1519, however, was modified as early as 1526, in order to transfer the king’s apartment to a side wing: The centered dungeon being rendered incompatible with the new court ritual requiring a royal apartment in a row. As at the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano , each level now has its apartments distributed around a central axis embodied by the staircase with double revolution (image) conceived in collaboration with Leonardo da Vinc. The works slow down however: after the defeat of Pavie , François I is forced to return to Pari.

On his return from captivity, in 1527 , if the patronage of the royal entourage remains important, the king remains nonetheless the main protagonist of the stylistic evolutions of his country, by the modifications he brings to a whole series of castles around the capital ( Villers-Cotterêt , La Muette ). While in Île-de-France new innovations are emerging, the Loire Valley becomes the conservatory of the First Renaissance.

The castle of Madrid today destroyed, reflects this evolution: The Palacio de los Vargas of Casa del Campo , home of a great Spanish financier located in front of what was the prison of Francis I in Madrid , inspired the realization of this palace without moats whose plan picked up is opposed to the French tradition. Realized as a new holiday residence, the symmetrical apartments were organized around a central ballroom, while two floors of loggias circling the building, presented a unique decor glazed terracotta by Della Robbi. The elevation of the castle was marked by the out-of-work pavilions , replacing here the still medieval towers of Chambord , whose new rhythm was obtained by the separation of the attic. The use of the geometric plan and the presence of the loggias, announcing the Villa Farnese , are a distant reflection of the Poggio Reale of Naples and the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano.

The new style of the First Renaissance is not long in spreading throughout Franc. Cities such as Lyon , Dijon , Besançon or Nancy as well as Bar-le-Duc 17 are particularly rich houses and mansions of the First Renaissance: among the most famous homes include, the Hotel Chabouillé said of Francis I in Moret – sur – Loing, the home Pincé (1525-1535) in Angers , the hotel Bullioud (1536) and the hotel Gadagne (still Louis XII style ) in Lyon , the House of the Heads (1527) in Metz, the Hotel d’Haussonville (1527-1543) of Nancy , or the Town Hall of Beaugency 1.

Cher and the Loir. Yet all near and almost contemporaries of Azay-le-Rideau , the “fantaisies” italianisantes and medieval memories such as turrets , pinnacles or other decorative machicolations , disappear here entirely in favor of a simpler style, purely French, whose clacissism and the shape of the roofs prefigure the realizations of Ancy-le-Franc and Château d’Écouen . If the originality of Villandry lies in an avant-garde architectural design announcing the Second Renaissance , the use that has been made of the site to build in full harmony with nature and stone, gardens of remarkable beauty, in fact one of the most accomplished expressions of the French Renaissance.

The Second Renaissance , formerly known as Style Henry II , marks from 1540 the maturation of the style appeared at the beginning of the century as well as its naturalization while the Loire Valley finds itself relegated in conservatory forms of the First Renaissance. This new period developed mainly during the reigns of Henry II , Francis II and Charles IX , and ended only around 1559-1564, just when the Wars of Religion , which will be marked by the Massacre of the Saint, begin. Bartholomew and the Catholic counter-reform .

While the First Renaissance is gradually accepted in the province, a whole series of innovations are felt, in Île-de-Franc.

From 1540 , the Classicism progresses, following the arrival in France of Serlio (1475-1555): Although its architectural work remains limited, its influence is considerable by the publication of its “Treaty of Architecture” (1537 -1551) . Thanks to his engraved works, he is one of the first to introduce other artists to the beauty of the monuments of antiquity , thus helping to make plans and decorations evolve towards more sobriety and regularity . However, the French architecture continues to keep clean features that seduce Serlio : skylights ” are great ornaments for buildings like a crown ” and the large roofs covered with blue slate are ” very pleasant and noble things ” 1.

The architects who were at the time of the Louis XII and early Renaissance styles , were traditional masters and full of verve, then become scholars and scholars who some make their study trip to Ital.

Marking a real stylistic turn, this new generation of artists operates an original synthesis between the lessons of antiquity, that of the Italian Renaissance and national traditions. Among the most famous, Philibert Delorme is author of the Hotel Bullioud in Lyon , the castles of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés and Anet and the chapel of Villers-Cotterêts ; Pierre Lescot builds the Renaissance wing of the Palais du Louvre and the Hôtel de Jacques de Ligneris ( Musée Carnavalet ); Jean Bullant builds the castles of Ecouen and Fère-en-Tardenois as well as the Petit chateau de Chantilly .

These architects now collaborate closely with the sculptors and define a scholarly architecture and decor, preferring the beauty of the lines to the richness of the ornamentation: Cellini carves for the Golden Gate , the bronze relief of the Nymph of Fontainebleau ; his typically ” Mannerist ” work made a great impression in France and probably influenced Jean Goujon , director of the Fontaine des Innocents and the decoration of the Louvre façade; The Mannerist influence also permeates the work of Pierre Bontemps , in charge of the Tomb of Francis I in Saint-Denis and the monument to the heart of Francis I.

In Burgundy , the Château d’Ancy-le-Franc (1538-1546) is one of the first achievements to respond to this new ideal. Designed by architect Serlio , this castle built for Antoine III de Clermont , from 1538 to 1546, marks an evolution towards classicism in Franc. With this building then begins on the French soil what is called: ” modular architecture “. Only here are the slight winding pediments of the windows of the first floor, reminiscent of the early Renaissance. For the rest, nothing distracts the uniform order of bay windows or windows, separated by a span of twin pilasters , containing a niche and mounted on a high stylobat. This alternation of a main bay and a secondary bay (here feigned as represented by a niche) framed by pilasters is one of the first examples in France of the ryhmic bay treated with such frankness and such rigor. This new style will inspire a little later the architect of the castle of Bournazel during the construction of the portico East.

This demand for clarity continues at Château d’Écouen (1532-1567), in Île-de-Franc. It is enough to compare this building with a castle of the First Renaissance, such as Azay-le-Rideau to see the profound differences between the architectures of the two eras. All the machicoulis defensive apparatus or the Azay-le-Rideau walkway disappear altogether at Château d’Écoue. The corner towers of Chambord become like Ancy-le-Franc and Villandry , simple square pavilions. The same goes for ornamentatio. It is enough to compare the skylights of Ecouen , with those of the Loire Valley , to realize the progress made. On the stage of pinnacles , niches with shells and small flying buttresses of the First Renaissance, succeeds a composition of clean lines very soberly decorated, where the crimson flutes replace in the pilasters, the foliage and arabesques of the time of Francis I : A severe style then succeeds to the light graces of the First Renaissance. Repeating a disposition already observed in Villandry , the castle presents a modern disposition by the regularity of its quadrangular plan where the pavilions articulate harmoniously. To ventilate the interior space, a low wing closes the courtyard. The entrance is then by a front body surmounted by a loggia where the equestrian statue of Anne de Montmorency , resumes the compositions observed with the Castle of Gaillon and Ane. The entire building is isolated by a bastioned ditch reminiscent of the military charge of the owner. The bottom of the court is no longer made of a main building but a simple gallery of pageantry connecting two wings of apartments of which those of the King and the Queen overlook the plain of Franc. At the lower level, collective baths develop as in Fontainebleau , connected to recreational areas (garden, tennis court ). The facade of the North wing, taken over by Jean Bullant , presents a new superposition of regular orders , surmounted by a classical cornice inspired by antiquit. However, the research carried out on the south facade to adapt to the proportions of the statues of the slaves of Michael Angelo , offered by Henry II , gives him the opportunity to use for the first time in France the colossal order : the columns now occupying the two levels to the base of the roof, are inspired by the Pantheon of Rome and are surmounted by a classic entablature , creating the illusion of an ancient monument. Although the influence of Michael Angelo’s achievements on Capitol Hill and Saint Peter’s in Rome is clear, references to the Italian Renaissance are slowly fading away from the examples of the Roman worl.

The Lescot wing of the Louvre , begun in 1546, is the masterpiece of the Second Renaissance. This work by Pierre Lescot , an antique architect, was decorated by Jean Goujon 1. The staircase originally planned in the center of the main building is moved at the request of Henry II in order to create a large room where take place Greek caryatids , molded at the request of Jean Goujon , on the Erechthéion de the Acropolis of Athen. In the style of a French-style manifesto, advocated by Lescot , the facade presents a superposition of new classical orders without reaching the Italian regularity: as we go up, the proportions become more and more fine , and the idea of crowning the two superimposed ordinances of a large decorated headband, results in acclimatizing in France , the attic floor so prized in Italy , while using for the first time attic broken ” à la française ” , to give the illusion of a right heigh. In spite of their little protrusion, the front-bodies, last memory of the medieval towers, are enough to animate the facade. The admirable sculptures of Jean Goujon contribute to make this building a unique work. On the ground floor, the semicircular arches framed by pilasters cause the accentuation of verticals and horizontals while the set of double supports framing a niche decorated with a medal, represents a layout that will become typical in architecture French.

Another major achievement of this period, the castle of Anet , is made by Philibert Delorme , at the expense of the King , for Diane de Poitiers , mistress of Henry I. Destroyed at the time of the Revolution , it remains today without alternations only the chapel and the three superimposed Orders preserved at the School of the Beaux – Arts of Pari. Having become typical of the Second Renaissance, the quadrangular plan presents a dwelling located opposite the entrance. Bastioned ditches, as in Ecouen, have cannons for the feast and the pageantry. The pyramidal entrance is an Italian reminiscence representing a triumphal arch reinterpreted by Delorm. Four Ionic columns support a bow falling on an architrave while the columns of the lateral passages are inspired by the Palazzo Farnese de Sangallo the Younge. Under the cutting of the balustrades , a set of polychrome materials, frames the nymph made by Cellini for the Golden Gate of Fontaineblea. At the top, a group of automata, gone, marked the hours. Everywhere Philibert Delorme expresses his taste for bizarre inventions inspired by Michelangelo’s capriccio 18 : Under this influence, appears an unprecedented use of rounded volumes while many details such as winding pediments or pilasters in sheath , reveal a thorough knowledge of Michel-Angeles works. Thus the chimneys, called ” sarcophagus “, developing on both sides of the building, seem like a distant memory of the tombs of the Medici in Florenc. Located at the end of the courtyard, the body of the central house, by its superposition of orders gives an ascensional aspect while taking up the same superposition of canonical orders , observed on the north wing of Ecouen : one finds there also the same type of antique statues placed in niches framed by a double support. With classical orders , Delorme prefers to create an unusual order : The ringed column presented by the architect as the solution of a technical problem allowing to hide the joints of the paired columns. This invention also expresses the new maturity of French architecture with the reflection on the creation of a ” French order ” 18 , an idea bandaged to the death of Henry II , but taken by Jules Hardouin-Mansart during the construction from the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versaille.

The Chapel of Anet Castle remains the most innovative achievement. This is the first time in France , that we use the centered plan. While the carving of niches surrounded by pilasters is influenced by the contemporary creations of Bramante and Michelangelo , the frieze that surmounts it is inspired by Sangall. The sculptures may be from Jean Goujo. The building serves as a showcase for the enamels of Francis I and the apostles of Scibec de Carp. The vault of the cupola develops a decoration including a nesting of circles reflecting, in an octagonal way, on the floor pavement. This motif, inspired by the elements frequently encountered in Roman mosaics , shows the desire to surpass the Italian model by referring directly to the ancient achievements, in order to create an original French architecture.

In parallel with these great royal projects, the large city mansions participate in the naturalization of this new style: Under the impulse of the Second Renaissance, all the sumptuous decor of foliage and medallions disproportionate and full of verve adorning the Gallery of the Hotel Shabbled Moret-sur-Loing , disappear in front of the system of modular proportions , strictly applied to the entablature of the house of Jean d’Alibert in Orleans , where cartridges cutouts inspired by the School of Fontainebleau surmount the windows 1. Responding to a demand for clarity sought during this period, mansions then develop between courtyard and garden as in Paris , including the hotel Jacques de Ligneris ( Carnavalet museum ).

The new style is not long in spreading throughout France : in the Loire Valley , the castle of the Bastie d’Urfe (or Built d’Urfe ), in Burgundy , the casino of the Grand Garden Joinville (before 1546) , in Aveyron , in the castle of Bournazel ( 1545-1550) or in Normandy at the hotel of Escoville de Caen (1537). At Le Mans and Rodez , the influence of the Vitruvian , Guillaume Philandrier , is probable while in Toulouse , the architect Nicolas Bachelier puts himself at the service of a whole humanist milieu; among the most famous mansions: one can quote the castle of Saint-Jory (1545 / destroyed) as well as the beautiful example of the three superimposed Orders of the hotel of Assézat (1560) 1. Some public buildings such as the Palace of the Dauphine Parliament (1539) in Dijon or the Granvelle Palace and the Town Hall in Besançon also participate in the Second Renaissance.

If the religious architecture remains faithful to the Gothic structures and vaults ( cathedral of Le Havre , Saint-Eustache of Paris ), many churches modernize their principal or lateral facade by a frontispiece in the antique ( Rodez , Gisors , Saint-Aignan de Chartres ), and treat their rood screen like a triumphal arch ( Sainte-Chapelle of Paris , Saint-Pierre de Maillezais ).

Forming an ultimate echo of the Renaissance and Humanism in France , this last phase departs in the years 1559/1564, from the classicism surrounding its creative fantasy, which can justify for this style the name of ” Mannerist “. At the very beginning of the Wars of Religion marked by the Massacre of St. Bartholomew , pessimism and skepticism invade men and artists of pure humanistic formation. The ancient thinkers of reference become the Stoics in preference to Plat. If humanism survives, its profound philosophy evolves, while being revived and rethought by the Catholic counter-reform .

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