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Clérisseau, Charles-Louis

Clérisseau, Charles-Louis (1721–1820). Paris-born draughtsman, scholar, and architect who studied under Boffrand, his importance was as a teacher and artist-archaeologist who had a profound effect on the evolution of Neo-Classicism. He instructed James and Robert Adam in draughtsmanship, and assisted in the survey of Diocletian's Palace at Spalato, later supervising the engraving of the plates for Adam's Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764). He also gave lessons in drawing to Chambers (with whom he quarrelled), and knew or met many important architectural personalities of the time, including Piranesi and Erdmannsdorff. More than his relatively few realized works (e.g. the Palais du Gouverneur, Metz, France (1776–89) ), his many drawings of Antique decorative schemes and details, real and imaginary ruins, and designs for buildings in the Ancient style helped to form the language of Neo-Classicism. Later, he produced design-drawings for a ‘Roman villa’ (unrealized) for the Empress Catherine of Russia (1762–96), and also advised Jefferson on the design of the Virginia State Capitol. He published Monumens des Nismes (1778) in Part I of Antiquités de la France (1778).


Builder (1980);
Chevtchenko et al. (eds.) (1995);
Clérisseau (1778);
CoE (1972);
Kalnein (1995);
Kalnein & and Levey (1972);
T. McCormick (1990)

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