Dessiner pour Bâtir
13 December 2017 12 March 2018

Louis Le Vau (1612–1670), Chateau de Meudon, c 1656–7, DM 2652.b

Louis Le Vau (1612–1670), Château de Meudon, c. 1656–7. Pencil, pen, ink and wash on watermarked laid paper, 267 x 700 mm.

13 December 2017 – 12 March 2018
Archives Nationales
Hôtel de Soubise
60, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
Paris 75003

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 explores 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 creates a collective portrait of the architects of the Grand Siècle, professionals and artists at once.

See the Drawing of the Week on Le Vau by curators Alexandre Cojannot and Alexandre Gady (translated from the French by Basile Baudez).