ANDROUET DU CERCEAU, Jean
(b. ca. 1585, Paris, d. 1649, Paris)

Biography

French architect and engineer, part of a family of architects, grandchild of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau the Elder, son of Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau (c. 1545-1590).

In 1614 collaborated with his cousin Salomon de Brosse on the Palais du Luxembourg. His town houses in Paris are well known, especially that owned by the Duc de Sully, the minister of Henry IV and Jean's earlier patron in Poitou. Solid documentary evidence is lacking, but the Hôtel Sully (1624-29) on the Rue Saint Antoine shows stylistic affinities, especially in its richly ornamented façade, with the work of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau II. Jean also worked on the Hôtel Bellegarde (or Séguier; 1633-36) and the sumptuous Hôtel de Bretonvilliers on the Île Notre Dame (1635-38); at the latter he was probably responsible only for the left wing of the court, which has an elaborately sculpted façade. (The building was completed by Louis Le Vau in 1638-43 and destroyed in 1873.)

In the 1630s, together with his cousin Paul de Brosse (active 1619-1644) and Charles du Rhys, Jean worked on fortifications in Paris. The intricate staircase of the Cour du Cheval Blanc in Fontainebleau designed in 1632 is his replacement for the monumental horseshoe staircase by Delorme. Jean's much esteemed design for the Pont au Change in Paris (1639-45; destroyed 1858) is marked by a complex grouping of vaulted galleries.

One of the most gifted architects of his generation, Jean expanded the ideas of Jacques II and Salomon de Brosse by giving them a more modern tone.