baptiste androuet du cerceau

Androuet du Cerceau

[ahn-droo-e dy ser-soh]

Androuet du Cerceau was a family of French architects and designers active in the 16th and early 17th century.

Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau

Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau, born in 1510 in Paris, France and died in 1584 in Annecy, was the founder of the Androuet du Cerceau family. Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau was a well-known designer of architecture, ornament, furniture, metalwork and other decorative designs during 16th century. He introduced Renaissance architecture to France with the assistance of Pierre Lescot, Philibert Delorme and Jean Bullant. Though he was referred to by contemporaries as achitecte and was even appointed architecte du roi, he is remembered especially for his suites of engravings produced from 1549 (beginning with a suite of Triumphal arches) from his printshop in Orléans. In 1559, he moved to Paris, where he produced his notable Livre d'architecture (dedicated to Henri II). In 1569, under the pressures of the French Wars of Religion, Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau fled to the Huguenot stronghold of Montargis, the seat of Renée de France, duchess of Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII; the château featured strongly in his best-known work, the folio volumes of Les plus excellents bastiments de France (1576, second volume 1579).

His fine engravings of French châteaux and the perspective views of their gardens— which he documented but did not design— and his extravagantly fanciful suites of engravings of decorative architectural elements and furniture, heavily loaded with sculptural ornament, were especially influential for the designers and luxury craftsmen of Antwerp, working in the style broadly called Northern Mannerism. In the 1570s he was back in Paris, working for Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici. Though documentation is lacking, and attribution to the author of a widely-used patternbook is generally risky, he is credited with the designs of the châteaux of Verneuil, in Verneuil-en-Halatte, which was later purchased by Henri IV in 1600, and Charles IX's château of Charleval (demolished), where he was assisted by his son Jean Baptiste.

The nickname "Cerceau" comes from the emblem of a ring that appears in lieu of a signature on engravings by Jacques Androuet.

Answering the pressure of demand for authentic "Henri II" furniture designs in the 1880s, suites of designs by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau for chimeypieces, furniture and arabesque ornament were reproduced by the new technique of heliogravure. In the years after 1906, the detailed bird's-eye-view perspective engravings of Jacques Androuet enabled the patterned parterres of the Château de Villandry to be restored to their 16th-century appearance.

Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau

Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau, (1544/47–1590) designed the Pont Neuf (1579), spanning the Seine, Paris, and became supervisor of the royal works under Henri III and Henri IV such as Louvre. Several hôtels particuliers are ascribed to him. The Hôtel d'Angoulême, the Hôtel de Lamoignon (1584), which houses the Historical Library of the City of Paris, and the Hôtel de Mayenne (rue St-Antoine in the Marais). The Hôtel de Mayenne, with rhythmically varied dormer windows set in a high slate roof, has the pediments of its piano nobile windows superposed on the frieze above.

Jacques Androuet II du Cerceau

Jacques Androuet II du Cerceau, the son of Jean Baptiste, (ca 1556–1614), also worked in cooperation with Louis Métezeau designing the Petite Galerie and the Grande Galerie (1595–1608) that extended along the bank of the Seine as part of Henri IV's grand project to link the Louvre to the Tuileries. The project was abruptly halted after the assassination of the king in 1610, but the Pavilion des Tuileries (1595) that formed the junction was completed. Renamed the Pavillon de Flore in the reign of Louis XIV, and greatly altered, it is the only element of the Tuileries that survives.

Jean Androuet du Cerceau

Jean Androuet du Cerceau, the son of Jean Baptiste, (ca 1585–1650), the outstanding Parisian architect of his generation, is known for his hôtels particuliers in Paris. One, the most famous, is the Hôtel de Sully (1624–29), ranged symmetrically round a deep entrance court off the rue St-Antoine, which was commissioned by the financier Mesme Gallet and bought after its completion by Henri IV's faithful minister. Sculpted figures in high relief set against recessed panels alternate with pedimented windows. Another is the Hôtel de Bretonvilliers (1637–43). He added the divided horseshoe staircase to the main entrance of Fontainebleau (1632–34).

The daughter of Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau married the architect Jean de Brosse (architect), father of Salomon de Brosse, architect of the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris.

See also

Catherine de' Medici's building projects

External links

Du Cerceau's Books on line:


  • Baldus, Eduoard. Oeuvre de Jacques Androuet dit du Cerceau. Meubles. Paris; Edouard Baldus: c.1880

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