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

Exterior view

c. 1552
Château d'Anet (Eure-et-Loir)

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 entrance was probably built in 1552. It is designed almost without the use of classical elements, except the Doric columns round the actual door, and is thought of as a series of blocks of masonry, playing against each other almost in the manner of functionalist architecture. A sequence of rectangular blocks builds up to the central feature, surrounded by consoles and flanked by two rounded masses which support little terraces. The culmination of the whole design is the clock consisting a bronze stag surrounded by hounds, which move at the striking of the hours, a piece of mechanical ingenuity typical of the architect.

An element of colour was formerly given by a an inlay of black marble in the entablature of the Doric Order and by Cellini's bronze relief of Diana, now replaced by a plaster copy.

View the plan of Château d'Anet.