BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
|| Dan, Pierre
|| Le tresor des merveilles de la maison royale de Fontainebleau...
|| Paris, S. Cramoisy, 1642.
|| Paris, Ensba, Les 1577
of the Tresor des merveilles de la maison royale de Fontainebleau
(1642) is Pierre Dan, the Father Superior of the Convent of the Trinitarians
which Saint Louis had founded in 1259 in his château of Fontainebleau.
These Trinitarians or Mathurins, as they were called in France, served
the chateau's chapel of the Holy Trinity. The author writes as an historian
and a witness, but it does not seem that one could recognize him as
historiographer. Indeed, if he had received the mission to establish
the history of the château from royal authority, one would probably
know this by the dedication he adresses to François Sublet de
Noyers, the influential surintendant des Bâtiments.
is remarkable on many accounts. First by its organization, detailed
at length in an extremely clear table of contents. Especially by the
historical method, founded on quoting and criticizing texts coming from
the royal archives; the author even often transcribes or translates
them, when he suspects that the fact he is reporting might be contested.
Indeed, Father Dan asserts after Saint Augustine "qu’il vaut
mieux ne rien déterminer des choses cachées que d’affirmer
des choses incertaines ou douteuses" (p. 11). He can only be reproached
for a certain chauvinism, moreover very widespread in the publications
on the treasures of the marvels of the kingdom. He presents the chateau
as "le chef d’œuvre le plus parfait qui soit en Europe,
qui pour cela remporte sans contredit l’honneur d’estre
le plus accomply de toutes les belles maisons qui se voyent au reste
du monde" (p. 18). These marvels are nonetheless attributed to
the Italians. Le Rosso, Primaticcio and Serlio are the only ones cited,
with the Italian painters of the collections of paintings of Francis
I. Dan was unaware of the names of the entrepreneurs and artisans who
carried out the Italians' estimates (they were only exhumed from the
archives in the 19th century) and even that of French masters such as
De l'Orme. For all that, must one disregard his attribution of the cour
du Cheval Blanc to Serlio, which has been confirmed by the most recent
discoveries? The chapters devoted to events which took place in the
chateau are perhaps less useful than the critical descriptions made
by the author, in distinguishing as well as possible the "anciennes"
parts from the "modernes et nouvelles" parts, "la plupart
entremeslez" (p. 27).
Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos (Centre national
de la recherche scientifique) – 2009
Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos (Cnrs) –
J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, Fontainebleau, Paris, Scala,
F. Boudon, J. Blécon & C. Grodecki,
Le château de Fontainebleau de François Ier à
Henri IV: les bâtiments et leurs fonctions, Paris, Picard,