LESCOT, Pierre
(b. ca. 1510, Paris, d. 1578, Paris)

Exterior view

Louvre, Paris

In 1527 King Francis I announced his intention of rebuilding the medieval palace of the Louvre. He pulled down the keep which blocked a great part of the Cour Carré (Square Court), but for many years nothing more was done. In 1546, however, he commissioned Pierre Lescot to erect a new building on the site of the west wing of the old château. Originally the plan had only been to rebuild this one wing or at most to carry on the same scheme round the existing court, but at some date between 1551 and 1559 it was certainly decided to embark on a more ambitious plan and to build a court enclosed by blocks double the length of Lescot's executed wing. This plan was not carried out till the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, but all documents of this later period give the credit of the original idea for the extension to Lescot.

The photo shows the south side of the west wing of the Cour Carré. The most striking feature of the façade is its classicism. The façade is entirely articulated with pilasters of the most decorative Orders, Corinthian and Composite. The sculptural decoration is the work of Jean Goujon who must have been a collaborator with the architect on more or less equal terms.