MARTELLANGE, Étienne
(b. ca. 1568, Lyon, d. 1641, Paris)

Biography

French architect, painter and draughtsman (also known as Ange, Étienne Martel). He was the grandson of a painter of stained glass and son of a painter from Lyon, and he began his own career as a painter. Martellange trained in Italy from 1586 to 1587 with François Stella (1563-1605), and in 1590 he entered the Jesuit Order at Avignon, with the title of Pictor, taking his vows as a coadjutor brother at Chambéry in 1603; he was not, however, ordained a priest.

Martellange worked throughout France, producing architectural plans and some competent watercolour views of Jesuit establishments where work was in progress. Drawings and estimates were sent to the Jesuit Order in Rome and served as a basis for decisions by the leaders of the Order on the building projects in hand. From the study of his drawings (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) it is possible to reconstruct a list of more than 20 Jesuit houses and colleges on which Martellange worked. His active career began in 1605-06 at Moulins (college) and Le Puy (church and college) and included the colleges at Carpentras (1607), Blois, Bourges and Chambéry, as well as work at Dijon (1611), Besançon, Dôle and Lyon (1609-19), where he also designed the church of the Trinity (1617-22). Martellange's college plans usually consisted of two or three rectangular courtyards with the church along one side of the court. The churches generally followed Italian Jesuit prototypes in having a nave with shallow recesses between the abutments of the transverse arches and galleries above. Ornament was minimal, his overriding concerns being economy and utility.

In 1625 Martellange's design for the Jesuit church of Saint-Louis, Rue St Antoine, Paris, received endorsement from the authorities in Rome, and the foundation stone was laid in 1627. However, two years later he was replaced by François Derand in the continuing construction of the church and its façade, although Martellange's supporters thought Derand's design would weaken the church. Meanwhile, Martellange had begun work in 1628 on the chapel at Clermont College, Rue St Jacques, Paris, and from 1630 he designed and built the Jesuit noviciate (destroyed) in the Rue Pot-de-Fer, which was completed in 1642. The church, and in particular the restrained classicism of its façade (copied from Giacomo della Porta's Santa Maria dei Monti in Rome), exerted considerable influence on French religious architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries and helped establish Martellange as one of the most important Jesuit architects in France.