BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
Recueil des plans, profils et élévations des plusieurs palais, chasteaux, églises...
||[s.l.s.n.], [before 1659]
||Paris, Binha, Num 4 Res 9
||Castles, Churches, Domestic architecture, Gates, Tombs
Jean Marot, (1619-1679), architect and draftsman, appears mainly as on of the dominant figures in the Parisian world of engravers in the 17th century. Nevertheless, his career remains obscure. If, starting in 1648, he called himself “architect” at the same time as “engraver” (Arch. nat., Min. cent., CXXI, 12, April 2, 1648), constructions are generally attributed to him especially because they are found in his engraved collections known as Grand and Petit Marot. Now the makeup of those two collections raises many questions, particularly as their definitive arrangements were only established during the course of the 18th century.
Thus the Petit Marot saw three successive editions : the first without place or date, and the second, published by Mariette during the second third of the 18th century, both of them under the title Recueil des plans, profils et élévations... ; the third, published by Jombert during the second half of the 18th century, is entitled Petit œuvre d’architecture de Jean Marot. The last two editions are compilations of engravings by Marot, added to the central core contained in the first edition. They all present numerous variations in their makeup, and this even among different copies of each edition.
Even the first edition offers hardly any coherence in presenting the different constructions. The hôtels, châteaux, churches, tombs and portals are set out without apparent organization. Nevertheless there is a logic : for each building, Marot proposes several plates of plans, elevations and sections, although their order and their number vary according to the building. The information given is scarce and often incomplete. Thus, only the hôtel de Jars (Gert) and d’Aumont are called “by the design of the architect Mansart”, whereas other works by the architect figure there, such as the château de Maisons. Marot also specifies that the Duke of Montmorency’s tomb was “done by Monsieur Anguer” (Anguier). This lack of precision is what led to attributing to Marot himself the design of some buildings that he engraved, such as the façade of Notre Dame des Ardilliers in Saumur, an attribution which remains unconfirmed in other respects.
This book presents several plates of twenty-nine buildings and tombs. The first (pl. 2-6) is the palais d’Orléans (today the palais du Luxembourg). Next come the châteaux de La Trémoille in Thouars (pl. 7-9) and du Raincy (pl. 10-16) ; the Jabach house (pl. 17-23) ; the châteaux of Maisons (pl. 24-28), of Ponts-en-Champagne (pl. 29 and 30), of Meudon (grotto, pl. 31-33) and of Coulommiers-en-Brie (pl. 34-37) ; the Roland house, rue de Cléry in Paris (pl. 38-41) ; the following hôtels : Tubeuf (pl. 42-47), Liancourt in the faubourg Saint-Germain (pl. 48-52) and Bretonvilliers (pl. 53-57) ; the château du Fayelles (pl. 57-59) ; the hôtel de Sully (pl. 60 to 63), d’Argouge (today Carnavalet, pl. 64-68), de La Bazinière (pl. 69-72), de Jars (pl. 73-78) et d’Aumont (pl. 79-82) ; a private house in Paris (pl. 83 and 84) ; the grotto at the château de Noisy (pl. 85-87) ; the chapels at the Sorbonne (pl. 88-90), at Sainte-Marie (Visitation, pl. 91 and 92) and at the Jesuit Noviciat in Paris (pl. 93-95) ; the tomb of the duc de Montmorency in Moulins (pl. 96-98) ; the churches of the Oratoire in Paris (pl. 99-101) and of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers in Saumur (pl. 102-104) ; the Valois chapel in Saint-Denis (pl. 105-113) ; the tomb of François Ier in Saint-Denis (pl. 114 and 115) ; and the church of the Discalced Carmelites in the Faubourg Saint-Germain (pl. 116). The Recueil ends with a series of engravings (pl. 117-135) of Marot’s creations (portals, city gates, churches and chapels, wooden doors, chimney pieces) and of real elements (the doors of the King’s chamber in the Louvre and in the Heidelberg castle, or even the Pantheon in Rome).
Dating this first edition presents a problem. An inventory of the plates in the Marot workshop made on the occasion of his marriage to Charlotte Galbran in 1659 (Arch. nat., Min. cent., LXX, 73, Octobre 12, 1659, quoted by B. Bouyx), shows that all the plates in the Recueil already existed at that date, which must be considered a terminus post quem. In fact, the dedication in a copy of the Recueil des plans, profils et élévations kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF, Res M-V-176) specifies that it “was given to brother Guillaume de Saint-Denis by Monsieur Paget, intendant of finance and master of request, September 23, 1659”, all of which confirms moreover the ex libris of the first plate : “Ex biblioth. Fuliensium Sti Bernardi parisiensis, 1659 ”. Thus one must consider this edition to be the original one, and grant Marot its authorship, rather early in his career.
In fact, even if the reasons for his project escape us, Marot’s work is to be placed in the tradition of the Plus excellents bastiments de France by Androuet du Cerceau. The buildings themselves are what count, their sponsors even, but not their authors. From the viewpoint of art history, Marot’s collection represents a major interest, in order to know the former condition of constructions which have disappeared or are today overhauled.
Michaël Decrossas (Paris, EPHE, Histara) – 2013
A. Bérard, Catalogue de toutes les estampes formant l’œuvre de Jean Marot architecte et graveur, précédé d’une notice sur sa vie et ses œuvres, Paris, Morel & Cie, 1864.
B. Bouyx, Jean Marot architecte parisien du XVIIe siècle, MA Thesis at Université Paris IV Sorbonne, under the direction of Antoine Schnapper and Claude Mignot, 1989.
A. Mauban, Jean Marot architecte et graveur parisien, Paris, Les éditions d’Art et d’Histoire, 1944.