DELORME, Philibert
(b. ca. 1515, Lyon, d. 1570, Paris)


Philibert Delorme (also known as Philibert de L'Orme), French architect. He was one of the great Renaissance architects of the 16th century and, possibly, the first French architect to possess some measure of the universal outlook of the Italian masters but without merely imitating them. Mindful that French architectural requirements differed from Italian, and respectful of native materials, he founded his designs on sound engineering principles. He assimilated the orders of classical architecture and mastered their use; but, being a man with an independent, logical turn of mind and a vigorous personality, he fused the orders with a delicacy of invention, restraint, and harmony characteristic of purest French classicism.

Delorme was the son of Jean Delorme, master mason. At an early age Philibert was sent to Italy to study (1533-36) and was employed there by Pope Paul III. Returning to France he was patronized by Cardinal du Bellay at Lyon, and was sent by him about 1540 to Paris, where he began the Chateau de St Maur-des-Fossés, and enjoyed royal favour; in 1545 he was made architect to Francis I of France and given the charge of works in Brittany. Until 1559 he was charged of all royal buildings with the exception of the Louvre.

His masterpiece was the Château d'Anet, built for Diane de Poitiers. His work is also seen at Chenonceau and other famous châteaux; and his tomb of Francis I at Saint Denis Basilica remains a perfect specimen of his art.