BROSSE, Salomon de
(b. 1571, Verneuil-en-Halatte, d. 1626, Paris)
Palais du Luxembourg, Paris
More than any of his contemporaries, Salomon de Brosse prepares the way for the next generation and the introduction of classicism. From about 1610 onwards he seems to have enjoyed considerable success as an architect. During the next few years he was commissioned to build three great châteaux: Coulommiers in 1613 for Catherine de Gonzague, Duchesse de Longueville; Blérancourt, begun by 1612 and finished before 1619 for Bernard Potier; and the Luxembourg in 1615 for Marie de' Medici.
Of the three châteaux the Luxembourg and Coulommiers are in many ways traditional. In plan they are variants of the well-established form with corps-de-logis, two wings and a screen enclosing a court. The Luxembourg is the more mature with its double pavilions at the corners of the main block, each pavilion providing a complete apartment on every floor. On the other hand, this plan has the disadvantage that its side elevation is asymmetrical. At Coulommier de Brosse gets over this difficulty by doubling the pavilions at the ends of the wings as well as those on the corps-de-logis.
The essential contribution of de Brosse to the development of French architecture lies in the fact that he was the first architect since Philibert Delorme to think in terms of mass, and not of decoration of surface. Most architects of the late sixteenth century were essentially inventors of ornaments. De Brosse's sense of mass can be seen most clearly in the two later works, the Luxembourg and Blérencourt.
The photo shows the entrance front of the Palais du Luxembourg.
View the ground plan of the Palais du Luxembourg.