BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
|| Barbet, Jean
|| Livre d’architecture d’autels, et de cheminees
|| Paris, M. Tavernier, 1633
|| Paris, Binha, 4 Res 100
(1605- before 1654), no doubt a native of Normandy, had a relatively
fertile career as a builder, working mainly on building sites of the
Loire close to Jacques Lemercier, Cardinal Richelieu’s architect.
In 1633 he signed a contract with the Cardinal as “maître
maçon à Paris” for the construction of thirty-two
houses in Richelieu, where his presence was attested in 1634 as “entrepreneur
des bastiments de ladite ville”. During the same years, he also
worked in Saumur, on the site of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers, where, under
the direction of Pierre Lemercier, he carried out the plans of Jacques,
Pierre Lemercier’s half-brother. From 1643 on he was still working
for the Lemercier clan in Orléans, where he had a dispute with
the architect concerning the construction of the spire of Sainte-Croix.
Starting in 1636 he also worked for Gaston d’Orléans in
of the Livre d’architecture was perhaps linked to the
construction site of Notre-Dame des Ardilliers, which Richelieu had
decided to renovate in 1632. In fact, the high altar of the sanctuary,
finished in 1634, presents a few similarities with some of the models
drawn by Barbet, who might have had the idea for them. But according
to sources identified by Alexandre Gady, the true author of the work
was Jacques Lemercier. Nevertheless, it is possible to think that, in
dedicating the collection to Richelieu, the master mason was in a way
applying for a position, in giving a demonstration of his talents in
drawing chimney pieces (“Ayant passé quelque temps à
desseigner ce qu’il y a de beau dans Paris, je me suis exercé
depuis a faire ce petit Ouvrage, que je vous donne”), and a sort
of catalogue of high altar projects, from which the Cardinal could have
chosen a model for Saumur.
of publication of the Livre d’architecture are well known,
all of which is exceptional for a work of this type during this period.
In the contract of February 25, 1630 (Arch. Nat., Minutier central,
VI, 206 – Fleury, p. 652), Barbet was committing himself to work
for two years for Melchior II Tavernier, with board and lodging provided
by the editor, for a salary of 650 livres payable during the two years..
The copper plate engravings were done by the finest engraver of the
period, Abraham Bosse, who continued to collaborate with his former
employer. The work was reprinted later by Tavernier, still with the
date 1633, but his address doesn’t include the final note “au
coin de la rue Harlay”; the plate numbers lacking in the first
edition were added. According to P. Führing (p. 430) this reprint
was apparently done between 1638, the date Tavernier settled at La
Sphère Royale, and 1644, when he discontinued his activity.
But Tavernier was already set up at La Sphère Royale
in 1637 as was attested by the publication of a map of antique Greece.
Then, Pierre II Mariette, who bought a part of Tavernier’s business un 1644, made a reprint without changing the date of 1633, being satisfied to change
is located in a tradition of collections of models, a tradition inaugurated
in the 16th century by Sebastanio Serlio and Jacques Androuet du Cerceau
and perpetuated in Italy by Giovanni Battista Montano (Diversi ornamenti
capricciosi per depositi e altari, published by Soria Rome, 1625)
or Bernardo Radi (Varie Inventioni per depositi..., Rome, 1625).
It was illustrated in France in the 17th century by Pierre Collot the
same year, 1633, then by Jean Marot (Livre des cheminées,
Paris, 1661) or Jean Lepautre (Cheminées à la moderne,
Paris, 1661). Other similar enterprises had come into being in Flanders
or in Germany, in particuliar the Etliche architectischer Portalen,
Epitafien, Caminen und Schweyffen, published in Cologne in 1596
by Veit Ecken, where, for the first time one could find, together ,
doors, chimney pieces, altars and tombs, as in Barbet’s book.
Doubtless Barbet’s book had some repercussions in practice, at
least for chimney pieces. As examples, those at the châteaux de
Cheverny, Richelieu, or at the château of Skokloster in Sweden.
In 1957 the Musée des Beax-Arts in Tours acquired a chimney piece
made by an anonymous cabinetmaker which is very similar to the one represented
on plate 7; it was placed in the Louis XIII salon in the museum.
was published twice in Holland, once in 1641 by Cornelis Danckerts and
a second time the same year, distributed by Frederick de Widt. It was
published in Germany in 1645. But it had its greatest success in England
with two editions in the 17th century and one in 1706.
plates designed by Barbet, the present copy consists of a group of engravings
of diverse origins, of which one, numbered “7”, comes from
the Pièces d’architecture by Pierre Collot (Paris,
M. Van Lochom, 1633).
Yves Pauwels (Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2008
A. Blum, L’œuvre gravé d’Abraham Bosse,
Paris, Morancé, 1924.
G. Duplessis, "Catalogue de l’œuvre de Abraham Bosse",
Revue universelle des arts, Paris, 1859, n° 338-355.
P. Fuhring, "Jean Barbet’s ‘Livre d’architecture,
d’autels et de cheminées’ : Drawing and Design in
Seventeenth Century France", Burlington Magazine, 1203,
June 2003, pp. 421-430.
A. Gady, Jacques Lemercier. Architecte et ingénieur du Roi,
Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 2005.
M. Grivel, Le commerce de l’estampe à Paris au XVIIe
siècle, Geneva, Droz, 1986, pp. 350-351, 378.
S. Join-Lambert, "Planches pour Barbet, Livre d’architecture,
d’autels et de cheminées, 1633", catalogue notes
Abraham Bosse savant graveur, Tours, vers 1604-1676, Paris,
S. Join-Lambert & M. Préaud (ed.), Paris/Tours, Bibliothèque nationale
de France/Musée des Beaux-Arts of Tours, 2004, p.
(notes on line on the BnF site, http://expositions.bnf.fr/bosse/grand/085.htm)
Y. Pauwels, "Francine, Collot, Barbet : recueils de modèles
ou exercices de style ?", J.-P. Garric, É. d'Orgeix & E. Thibault (ed.), Le
livre et l’architecte, Wavre, Mardaga, 2011, pp. 161-171.
R.-A. Weigert, Inventaire du fonds français. Graveurs du
XVIIe siècle, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1939,
1, p. 494.