BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
|| Jousse, Mathurin
|| Le secret d’architecture...
|| La Flèche, G. Griveau, 1642
|| Paris, Ensba, Les 1251
d’architecture by Mathurin Jousse, the first treatise entirely
devoted to stereotomy, appeared in La Flèche in 1642 with a letter
dedicating it to Urbain de Maillé-Brézé. As the
royal privilege granted for the edition was dated 1635, we are led to
believe that the author had achieved the essential part of his work
several years before it came out. This delayed still further the publication
of Father François Derand’s new treatise L’architecture
des voûtes, in which the Jesuit expressed his exasperation
at having been left behind by his competitor, as well as his criticisms.
project d’exemples d’une manière universelle...
touchant la practique du trait à preuve pour la coupe des pierres
by the eminent theoretician Girard Disargues had already come out in
1640, and in 1643 Abraham Bosse published La pratique du trait à
preuve pour la coupe des pierres. This flowering of works published
in a short period proves the interest in theoretical and technical mastery
of stonecutting, a particularity of that "architecture à
la française" described by Jean-Marie Pérouse de
Montclos. The choice of the word "secret" well expresses
Jousse’s ambition to finally to define scientifically what had
heretofore belonged to the building sites.
For a long
time Jousse’s work had allowed one to believe that he had acted
as a builder, since the 1635 royal privilege qualifies him as "ingénieur et architecte de la ville de La Flèche".
From François Le Boeuf’s recent research, particularly
in the notarial archives, one can conclude that there was nothing to
it. His professional activity was that of a locksmith, a term meant
to be taken very widely as inventor and technician in iron works, as
much in construction as in daily life (wheel chairs, arm and leg protheses),
but also as a manufacturer of figurines and an engraver. The inventory
written after his death amply shows his inventive mind. A Renaissance
man, Jousse was curious about science and techniques; he possessed scientific
instruments, some he made himself, and a rich library in which there
were many books of arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. A precursor of
the Encyclopédie, he wanted to promote mechanical arts
in practical treatises nourished by his experience and his encounters.
of La Flèche, born around 1575, buried March 17, 1645 in the
Saint-Thomas cemetery, practiced his activities of "maître
serrurier" and "marchand" bringing him affluence
and a good reputation. His son, named Mathurin like him (1602-1672),
practiced the trade of master silversmith. La Flèche was then
an influential center of art and culture, because the Collège
des Jésuites (founded in 1603 by Henri IV) took a long time to
build, and because of the teaching of the Fathers.
up relations with Father Étienne Martellange who came to the
site several times and provided the famous architect with his talents
as engraver in illustrating his French translation of La perspective
positive de Viator in La Flèche (1626, 1635). Jousse also
met François Derand, a pupil at the college between 1613 and
1615, and then mathematics teacher there between 1618 and 1621. In the
large college church, one work has attracted much attention by the elegance
of its complex stereotomy, the organ loft. It has frequently been attributed
to Jousse or to Derand, but François Le Boeuf was able to identify
it as the work of Jacques Nadreau, a master stone worker from La Flèche
who signed the contract in 1637. As for Jousse, he carried out several
jobs of large and small locksmithing for the college and for the town
(repair of the large clock on the Saint-Thomas bell tower).
Jean-Pierre Babelon (Institut, Paris) – 2006
H.-L. Baudrier, Bibliographie lyonnaise : recherches sur les imprimeurs,
libraires, relieurs et fondeurs de lettres de Lyon au XVIe siècle,
Paris, de Nobele, 1964, 1, p. 244.
F. Le Bœuf, "Mathurin Jousse, maître serrurier à
La Flèche et théoricien d'architecture (vers 1575-1645)", In situ, 1, 2001.
P. Le Bœuf, "La Bibliothèque de Mathurin Jousse
: une tentative de reconstitution", In situ, 1, 2001.
E. Pasquier & V. Dauphin, Imprimeurs et libraires de l’Anjou,
Angers, Société anonyme des éditions de l’Ouest,
1932, pp. 311-326.
É.-C. Pecquet, "Mathurin Jousse, architecte et ingénieur
de la ville de La Flèche au XVIIe siècle", Cahiers
Fléchois, 6, 1984, pp. 28-41.
J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, L’architecture à
la française, XVIe, XVIIe, XVIIIe siècles, Paris,
Picard, 1982, pp. 96-99.
R.-A. Weigert, Inventaire du Fonds Français. Graveurs du
XVIIe siècle..., Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 5,
1968, "Jousse (Mathurin)", pp. 615-617.