Jacques Lemercier

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Lemercier, Jacques (c.1585–1654). Important mid-C17 French architect. He worked on the Square Court of the Louvre in Paris, begun by Lescot, and was responsible for the Pavillon de l'Horloge (completed 1641) in which he introduced an Order of caryatids above the Attic carrying a triangular pediment, containing smaller triangular and segmental pediments, derived from della Porta's façade of Il Gesù, Rome. Lemercier was architect to Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642) for whom he built the Palais Cardinal (later Royal) in Paris (1624–36—destroyed, apart from a piece of external wall), and the domed Church of the Sorbonne, Paris (begun 1626—probably based on the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari, Rome), with a fine Corinthian portico on the courtyard side. He designed the handsome dome at the Val-de-Grâce Church (from 1646), with its drum surrounded by powerful buttresses, treated as Classical Orders, giving it lively modelling. From 1631 he designed and laid out the Château (mostly demolished) and Town of Richelieu near Chinon, the latter a strict essay in formal rectilinear planning (which survives virtually intact). Also for Richelieu he enlarged the Château, laid out the superb formal gardens, and built the Church at Rueil (from 1633). Lemercier is also remembered as the architect of some hôtels particuliers in Paris, including the Hôtel de Liancourt (1623—destroyed), which Marot published in 1655.


Babelon (1991);
Blomfield (1974);
Blunt (1982);
Cramail (1888);
Marot (1969, 1970)

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Jacques Lemercier (zhäk ləmĕrsyā´), c.1585–1654, French architect, one of the group that evolved a classical mode of expression for French architecture. In Italy (c.1607–1614) he was strongly influenced by the architecture of Rome. With Cardinal Richelieu as his patron, Lemercier received his greatest opportunities as a designer of churches for the Jesuits. His chief remaining work is the church of the Sorbonne, Paris (1635), inspired by Giacomo della Porta's designs and containing a dome which furnished a model for that of the Church of the Invalides. It was built at Richelieu's order, as were Richelieu's Paris residence, later transformed into the Palais-Royal, and the entire town of Richelieu, an ambitious piece of 17th-century town planning. In Paris at the palace of the Louvre, Lemercier built the Pavillon de l'Horloge, and he superseded (c.1646) François Mansart in supervising the construction of the Church of Val-de-Grâce.