His early accomplishments as an architect and as a writer
He was the son of a Parisian wine merchant and started his career in the Loire valley, in Tours and Orléans, where he lived until 1531. In 1546 he was appointed architect to the King’s sister, Marguerite d’Angoulème.
He supervised the temporary architectural structures erected for Henri II’s arrival in Orléans in 1551. In 1559, he published his first Livre d’architecture (Book on Architecture) which contained a variety of construction projects, followed in 1561 by the Second livre d’architecture on ornamental items.
Renée de France protected this Protestant
In 1564 he and his family found refuge with Renée de France, Duchess of Ferrare. He dedicated to her his Livre des Grotesques (Book of Grotesques) published in 1556, which clearly referred to the country’s problems, which deeply troubled him. After his protector’s death, he was to be architect to her daughter and son-in-law.
The architect and the French Crown
His first book of the Plus Excellents Bastiments de France (The Most Excellent Buildings of France) was published in 1576 andwas dedicated to the queen-mother Catherine de Médicis, as indeed was the second one published in 1579. These publications resonated with architects, even those in other countries.
His Troisième livre d’architecture (Third Book on Architecture) published in 1582 was dedicated to the king.
The architect and his faith
Despite his affection for the king, Jacques I Androuët du Cerceau refused to convert to Catholicism. In his diary Pierre de l’Estoile noted the attitude of the architect and said « il préserveroit jusques à la fin de sa vie, sauf son honneur et sa conscience » (he will preserve his honour and his conscience until the end of his days. »
Jacques Androuët du Cerceau died in late 1585 or early in 1586 in Paris, or in the nearby city of Montargis.
- THOMSON David (présenté par), Les Plus Excellents Bastiments de France par J.A. Du Cerceau, Sand et Conti, Paris, 1988
Marguerite d'Angoulême (1492-1549)
Marguerite d’Angoulême was a literary person who, while fostering new ideas, was at the very centre of the cultural and spiritual life of her time.
Architecture au XVIe siècle
Nous retrouvons ici certaines des réalisations d’architectes très connus, Salomon de Brosse, Jean Goujon, Jacques 1er Androüet du Cerceau, pour n’en citer que quelque uns.
Jacques II Androuët du Cerceau (c. 1550/1560-1614)
Jacques II Androuët du Cerceau was present on construction sites launched by Henri IV towards the end of the 16th century. He is especially known as the architect of the Reformed church in Charenton near Paris.
Baptiste Androuët du Cerceau (c. 1540/1550-1590)
Baptiste Androuët du Cerceau was appointed architect to the royal buildings. He remained firmly attached to the Reformed Religion.
Salomon de Brosse (1571-1626)
Born in one of the most renowned families of architects of the 16th century, Salomon de Brosse was the famous architect of the Luxembourg Palace (nowadays housing the Senate) for Marie de Médici. Among his many accomplishments should be mentioned the reconstruction of the best-known of Protestant churches built prior to the Revocation : the Reformed church in Charenton.