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

Château d'Anet: frontispiece

1548-50
Photo
École des Beaux-Arts, Paris

Philibert Delorme is the first French architect to have something of the universality of the great Italians. He combines the engineering skill of the French mason with the learning of the Italian artist. He is classical without being merely an imitator of the Italians. Unfortunately almost all that he built has been destroyed, and apart from sections of Château d'Anet and the tomb of Francis I, we have to rely on engravings.

Though the greater part of Anet has been destroyed, its three essential features have survived: the frontispiece (avant-corps) from the main block, which now stands in the court of the École des Beaux-Arts; and the chapel and entrance gate, which are still in situ.

The frontispiece, shown in the photo, is a splendid example of Delorme new conception of classicism. In form it is a development of the medieval French château entrance which had already been modified and Italianized at Azay-le-Rideau and Fontainebleau. But here the transformation is more fundamental. First of all the Orders are applied in their correct sequence - Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, as in the Colosseum in Rome. But, more important, the design has a monumentality never seen in French architecture with this grandeur or completeness.