BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
All the historical circumstances presiding over the solemn entry of young Charles IX and his very new bride Elisabeth of Austria into Paris in 1571 were perfectly brought to light by V. E. Graham and W. McAllister Johnson, in their annotated edition of the work (1974). Meant to celebrate the mariage of the king to the Emperor’s daughter, the Parisian celebration, among other erudite representations, presented the alliance of France and Germany through the medium of Pharamond, the mythical founder of the French monarchy. Everyone vied with each other in mentioning that he descended from both the Germans and the Trojans, through the no less mythical Francion (f. 9v°) :
De ce grand Francion vray tige des François
The king’s and queen’s entries, whose accounts follow, were prepared by one of the aldermen of Paris, Simon Bouquet. An atypical character, unfamiliar to the bourgeois dynasties from whom the Parisian échevins were usually recruited, imposed on the city by the king and his mother, Bouquet was very cultured in the humanist tradition. Witness to this were not only the Greek poem that Dorat addresses to him in the booklet (f. 3v°), but also Alciat’s translations which had remained handwritten (Imitations et traductions de cent dix huict emblesmes d’Alciat…, BnF, ms. fr. 19143). Moreover, on the occasion of the royal entry he received great assistance : that of the best poets and humanists of the moment, Jean Dorat, Antoine de Baïf, Amadis Jamin, Guy du Faur de Pibrac and above all Ronsard, who, kept in the background during Henri II’s entry in 1549, seized on the opportunity to come into the foreground. The result is a very erudite text, peppered with French, Latin and Greek quotations and poems which could be taken as a sort of counterpoint to the verses that the Prince of Poets was preparing for his Franciade.
From the artistic point of view, the productions were less innovative than those of 1549, when Jean Martin and Jean Goujon were in charge of them. Using the same route, Bouquet and his collaborators placed arches at approximately the same stopping points : porte Saint-Denis, fontaine du Ponceau, porte aux Peintres and the Notre Dame bridge. Monuments bearing statues were erected near Saint Sépulcre church and the Fountain of the Innocents. The interior of the Notre Dame bridge clearly evokes the scenery created for Henri II, just as the view in perspective of the Châtelet appears to be a variation on the “plate peinture” created by Jean Cousin in 1549 for “Lutetia Prima Pandora”. If the structures remain the same, the style changed. Just as the arches engraved by Goujon very clearly revealed the influence of Serlio’s Books III and IV, in the same way those represented in the 1572 booklet evoke the Extraordinario libro, with more vigorous and prominent rusticated masonry, and stronger contrasts between the rustic and the refined. At the porte Saint-Denis, in 1549 Henri II encountered “un avant-portail d’ouvrage toscan et dorique, dédié à la Force, pour faire entendre que dedans Paris consiste la principale force du royaume” (f. 2v°), in which the Doric elements, clearly identifiable, were reinforced with vermiculated rustication, in a clear structure, inspired by a gate by Serlio. In 1571, this same “avant-portail” “à la rustique, d’ouvrage toscan, dédié à l’antique source et première origine des Rois de France, fertilité et grandeur d’icelui Royaume” was “fait de pierre de rustique fort bien ressemblant le naturel, à cause des herbes, limaces et lézards entremêlés parmi, et dont les spectateurs étaient en singulière admiration” (f. 8). These picturesque and expressive décors were even more spectacular at the Notre Dame bridge, where “était un arc triomphal d’ordre Toscan, et d’une mode qui jamais n’avait été vue, duquel l’ouverture était de douze pieds dans œuvre sous vingt et deux sous clef, le bas jusque à la hauteur de l’architrave fait de rochers parmi lesquels étaient mêlées des coquilles de limaces, et herbages tels qu’on les voit aux bords des rivières […] à l’endroit de laquelle eau répandue, étaient force petits arbrisseaux et quantité de mousse entremêlés avec plusieurs petits Lézards et limaces gravissant” (f. 33). This “toscan” arch, combined with the rustic, responded to the 1549 composite arch, with a very much more original ornamental repertoire ; nevertheless, the iconographic theme remained the same : Castor and Pollux, images of the king and his brother, taking the limelight from Typhis who was relegated to the last stanza of Ronsard’s sonnet commenting on the work (f. 34). We go from Pierre Lescot’s style to the more frankly mannerist style which was to blossom in the great unfinished projects of Charleval and Verneuil, as well as in the collections of Androuet du Cerceau or of Hugues Sambin, to be perpetuated in the beginning of the 17th century in the fountains and grottoes of the chateaux.
We have at our disposal a great deal of archival material relating to this ceremonial entry , in particular the Estimates and the deals made with the city of Paris, which, before being transcribed by V. E. Graham and W. McAllister Johnson, had been published in part by Louis-Claude Douet d’Arcq in 1848.
Yves Pauwels (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2007
L.-C. Douet d’Arcq, Devis et marchés passés par la ville de Paris pour l’Entrée solennelle de Charles IX, en 1571, Paris, Leleux, 1848 (extract from Revue archéologique, Ve année, 2e partie, 15 octobre-15 mars 1848).
V. E. Graham & W. McAllister Johnson, The Paris Entries of Charles IX and Elisabeth of Austria 1571, with an Analysis of Simon Bouquet's Bref et Sommaire recueil, Toronto/Buffalo, Toronto University Press, 1974.
Y. Pauwels, L'architecture et le livre en France à la Renaissance : une "magnifique décadence" ?, Paris, Garnier, coll. "Arts de la Renaissance", 2013, pp. 214-216.
Y. Pauwels, “L’architecture et ses représentations sous Charles IX”, L. Capodieci, E. Leutrat et R. Zorach (eds.), Miroirs de Charles IX: images, imaginaires et symboliques, Geneva, Droz, 2018, pp. 125-134.
M. Simonin, Charles IX, Paris, Fayard, 1995, pp. 249-259.