Author(s) Collot, Pierre
Title Pieces d’architecture...
Imprint Paris, M. van Lochom, 1633
Localisation Paris, Binha, 4 Res 259
Subject Chimneys, Doors


     We know almost nothing about Pierre Collot, except that he is mentioned as master sculptor in 1635, and that he realized the sculpted decoration of the Bullion Chapel at the Cordeliers in collaboration with Charles Grouard. His principal contribution to art history can be summed up in these Pièces d’architecture, which appeared in 1633, the same year as Jean Barbet’s Livre d’architecture. Collot’s work, printed by Michel van Lochom, another dealer in prints who was helped by Antoine Lemercier, seems to be competing with Barbet’s. In 1630 Collot had produced a series of smaller engravings simply designated by the names “P. Collo inventor, Antoine Le Mercier incidit” for the same Van Lochom.
As is frequent in these collections of engravings, the number of plates in the copies varies greatly (the title page is engraved and signed by Antoine Lemercier). The one at the RIBA contains only ten; those at Yale and in the Avery Library, eleven, and the one at the Royal Library in Brussels has twelve. The present copy proposes eight chimney pieces (including the one used for the title) and four doors. The tabernacles promised in Collot’s title are absent.
The similarity of the texts and the resemblance of the images in Barbet’s and Collot’s collections are striking. The two authors limit their conception of “architecture” to a collection of brilliant variations on the same themes, exercises of style aimed at lovers of the picturesque rather than real manuals conceived for artisans.
Nevertheless it has been suggested that one can find in the Pièces d’architecture a source of inspiration for the decorations of the Vieille Bourse in Lille, built by Julien Destrez starting in 1652. In particular, several of the statues leaning against the pilasters of the upper storeys adopt the same posture as the left-hand figure of the third chimney piece in the copy, and one finds the same tumble of flowers and fruits in the low part of the supports. The hypothesis is appealing, even if the position of the arms (of the Venus Pudica) and the vegetable ornamental motif were sufficiently widespread to have been known in Lille through other means.

Yves Pauwels (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2008

Critical bibliography

J. P. Babelon, Demeures parisiennes sous Henri IV et Louis XIII, Paris, Hazan, 1991, p. 249.

M. Charageat, "Notes sur cinq marchés passés par M. de Bullion... avec Jacques Sarrazin, Simon Vouet, Pierre Collot... et du rôle qu’y joue Le Mercier", Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire de l’Art Français, 1927 (1928), pp. 179-207.

C. Lesage, "La Vieille Bourse de Lille, nouveaux regards, nouvelles recherches", Bulletin de la Commission historique du Nord, 39, 1996-1997 [1999], pp. 97-126.

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. 167-171.