LE VAU, Louis
(b. 1612, Paris, d. 1670, Paris)

Exterior view

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy (Seine-et-Marne)

In 1656, Le Vau began his architectural masterpiece, the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, owned by France's wealthy finance minister Nicolas Fouquet (1615-1680). Probably the most important French château of the Baroque period, it possesses all the archetypal classical characteristics of order, balance and symmetry, while its monumental form conveys a sense of enduring power. Its façade is dominated by a large pediment and oval dome, accompanied by alternating patterns of windows and pilasters. The building, whose interiors were decorated by Charles Lebrun and others, stands in formal gardens designed by Andre Le Nôtre.

This structure, according to contemporaries, outshone everything which had previously been achieved in the field.

The picture shows the entrance front.

View the façade and ground plan of Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy.