BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
Settled in Paris after staying in Rome where he became familiar with antique architecture, André Felibien had a typical career in Colbert's service: he was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1663, historiographer to the king in 1666 and first perpetual secretary of the Academy of Architecture in 1671. Nonetheless he published numerous works of art criticism exalting Louis XIV's patronage at the same time as the Academy's doctrine. He published in particular the Entretiens sur la vie et sur les ouvrages des plus excellents peintres (1666-1688) and also descriptions of the arch on the Place Dauphine (1660), of the château (1674) and the grotto at Versailles (1674, 1676, 1679),), as well as accounts of royal entries and festivities (Relation de la feste de Versailles, 1668, Les divertissements de Versailles, 1676). It was the latter accounts which led him to write the Principes : “noticing that several people did not understand certain words that I was forced to use […] I thought it useful to create a collection of those used only in this sort of encounter” (Preface). In this way the work is presented as an annotated encyclopedia of the three principal arts, first architecture, then sculpture (p. 298) and painting (p. 390), but also as a dictionary (which begins on page 457).
Yves Pauwels (Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2013
A. Félibien, Entretiens sur les vies et les ouvrages des plus excellents peintres anciens et modernes. Entretiens I et II, Introduction, textual criticism and notes by R. Demoris, Paris, Les Belles-Lettres, 1987.
C. Fricheau, A. Cauquelin, D. Dauvois, R. Démoris, Félibien. La beauté classique, special edition of the Nouvelle revue d’esthétique, 2009-2.