Dessiner pour Bâtir

Louis Le Vau (1612–1670), Château de Meudon, c.1656–1657. Pencil, pen, ink and wash on watermarked laid paper, 267 × 700 mm. DMC 2652.b.

13 December 2017 – 12 March 2018, Archives Nationales – Hôtel de Soubise

Lemercier, Le Vau, Mansart …. these few great names embody the glory of French architects of the seventeenth century. Their individual celebrity, linked to buildings and to particularly prestigious patrons, hides in reality another story: behind their emblematic figures, it is a professional group that emerges from the old building trades to profoundly transform the practice of the arts and of construction in France. 

Through nearly two hundred exceptional works and documents, Dessiner pour Bâtir explored the social, cultural and artistic implications of the affirmation of the modern architect in France, from the time of Henry IV to that of Louis XIV.

The drawings, from the first sketch to the beautiful presentation sheets, are the privileged medium of expression for the architect and their examination reveals not only the evolution of graphic techniques throughout the century, but also the diversity of artistic personalities of their authors. The exhibition created a collective portrait of the architects of the Grand Siècle, professionals and artists at once.

For a virtual tour of the exhibition, click here.

Related texts

Louis Le Vau: Château de Meudon by Basile Baudez, Alexandre Cojannot and Alexandre Gady