French architecture

The Seventeenth Century

The Italian baroque style spread to France in the early 17th cent. A refined classicism distinguishes the French mode from its more exuberant Italian counterpart. This is revealed in the Château de Maisons (1642–46), Seine-et-Oise, by François Mansart, who added a steeply pitched roof of the form associated with his name. A turning point in French architecture occurred when Louis XIV rejected Giovanni Bernini's curvilinear design for the east facade of the Louvre in favor of Louis Le Vau and Claude Perrault's more classicizing design with its celebrated colonnade (1667–70). On a more colossal scale, Louis XIV commissioned Le Vau, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and Charles Le Brun to remodel a hunting lodge outside Paris into the Palace of Versailles (begun 1669). The vast formal gardens and fountains were planned by André Le Nôtre.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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