Philibert de l'Orme (1500/15-1570) was, like Palladio, the son of a mason. He spent three years in Rome (probably 1533-6), and adopted an enthusiasm for antique architecture as profound as it was misdirected. (Whether he misunderstood it, or whether he simply saw it through Mannerist spectacles, is not clear.)

His most important surviving work is the Chateau at Anet (1549ff), and this work, together with his publications, makes him the father of French classical architecture.

His Nouvelles Inventions pour bien bastir et a petits fraiz (1561) is indeed a how-to-do-it handbook, which could be used on site. His Architecture (1567) is more theoretical, in the tradition of humanist handbooks.

Anyone doubting his attachment to classicism (as he conceived it) need only view his illustrations, highly emblematic, of the Bad Architect and the Good Architect. The former strides blind and wild across a landscape of traditional architecture. The latter, with two pairs of hands and a third eye, instructs an attentive pupil amidst an idealistic evocation of the Roman Forum.

NB the following are far from all the illustrations from Philibert's works; those omitted are the how-to-do-it instructional plates for builders on site.

Click on an image to see the larger version of it.

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