The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Monday 6 August 2007

Pierre Le Muet (1591 - 1669)

'Maniere de bien bastir pour touttes sortes des personnes' was published in Paris in 1623 ('The Art of Fair Building', London 1670) . Following the examples the Italian Serlio, and Frenchmen Philibert de l'Orme in 1567 and Jacques de Cerceau earlier in 1559, this book of design theory and template examples of various degrees of ordinary houses (rather than Palazzi) demonstrated for the French client and builder of the reign of Louis XIII what domestic buildings of solid quality should be like. They show the inimitable fusion of French XVI century renaissance style with a stricter Roman classicism that became the characteristic of the architecture of the Louis XIII period. The steep pitched and slated roofs of the earlier epoch were cross-bred with the research into classical examples that was being carried out in Rome, the dominant centre of the period in the fine and applied arts. Richelieu was very concerned to be up-to-date and innovative in all his projects and would have known of the publication of this 'how-to' book at just the time that the town in oarticular was being conceived and designed in detail. The IDEAL TOWN of Richelieu, laid out by the brothers Lemercier, exemplifies this style everywhere in its grand buildings. The only significant buidings outside 'period' are the four pavilions that were built in the 1820s that extend and further support at each corner the extraordinary 1620 timber-framed market Halle.

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