BROSSE, Salomon de
(b. 1571, Verneuil-en-Halatte, d. 1626, Paris)

Exterior view

Église Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais, Paris

The first major religious building of the French Baroque was the façade of Saint-Gervais in Paris, probably built by Salomon de Brosse in the sixteenth-century style. It combined the elements of the French palace with the grandeur of early Roman Baroque. The upward movement of the three-storey front stood in contrast with the weighty plasticity that imitates the Roman prototype. The stepped effect of the various motifs was to become characteristic of French church building.

This design is a novelty in ecclesiastical architecture in France, for it is the application to a church façade of the three super-imposed Orders regularly used for the entrance to a château. The closest model is Delorme's frontispiece at Anet, to which de Brosse simple added a straight pediment over the main door and a curved one at the top of the whole structure. In this way he invented a French form of the current Roman church façade.