Architecture of the French Renaissance Essay

Architecture of the French Renaissance

The Renaissance would be a convergence of social, economic and artistic forces in the middle centuries of the last millennium. A period of time which can be characterized by a refinement and mainstreaming of the classical artistic impulses which preceded it, the Renaissance is said to have largely initiated in parts of Italy such as Florence and Venice. Indeed, it would be in such contexts that many of the greatest works of modern European art would forged. During the time of the Italian renaissance, a torrent of artistic inspiration resulted in countless groundbreaking pieces of iconic imagery which would break the mold both technically and creatively. Particularly in terms of compositional depth, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti were giving symbolic life to many of the most intellectually agonized moments of the bible or drawing up emotionally compelling demonstrations of the human emotional condition. In works by such artists, the elements of provocative coloring and symbolic disposition help to distinguish the Renaissance as a period of great human expressiveness.

Much of the work produced during this era, and particularly after the accomplishments of Raphael, would be characterized as appealing to the terms of mannerism. However, as we enter into this discussion, we recognize that mannerism is a pointed departure from that which is meant by Renaissance expression. Particularly, mannerism is a style of artistic expression which is defined by its appeal to classicist artistic parameters. The mannerist movement would find its practitioners engaged in the process of perfecting form and function. The naturalist tendencies that are otherwise associated with the Renaissance era would be dispatched by the mannerists in favor of the impulses of art as a discipline. The premise of achieving natural representations of beauty would here be eschewed in favor of a more abstract and elaborate conception of beauty. Expression for the sake of expressiveness would begin to expand the palette available to artists of the Renaissance.

For instance, “in Mannerist paintings, compositions can have no focal point, space can be ambiguous, figures can be characterized by an athletic bending and twisting with distortions, exaggerations, an elastic elongation of the limbs, bizarre posturing on one hand, graceful posturing on the other hand, and a rendering of the heads as uniformly small and oval. The composition is jammed by clashing colors, which is unlike what we’ve seen in the balanced, natural, and dramatic colors of the High Renaissance.” (Art Movements, 1) This general discussion brings us to a more direct consideration of the so-called French Renaissance. This is the term used to describe the expressive movement in France during the time of the late Italian Renaissance. It was largely seen that the characteristics of the Italian movement were apparent in the French landscape, particularly in the architectural conceits there evident.

The architecture of France is an interesting area of focus with respect to the subject of the cross-section between mannerism and renaissance expression. Key examples of that which is seen as renaissance architecture such as Tuileries Palace and the Loire Valley suggest a clear connection to those features which were appealing to expressionists of the Italian Renaissance. In particular, we will address with closer consideration hereafter the degree to which such architectural examples are illustrative of the naturalist desires and impulses present during the Renaissance period. With this in mind, the research also demonstrates that it is inappropriate to remark upon French Renaissance architecture as being a subset of Mannerism. When we consider the elegance and detail of the chateaus and estates forged during this time in France, it is possible to recognize some aspects of Mannerism, most specifically in the narrow and delicate height of such works as the Chateau Fontainbleu and in the stately gables that shadow the Chateau Blois. (Cupola Consulting, 1) in the respect that these works conform to a certain aristocratic pretension, their appeal to mannerism is important to their respective facades. Particularly, where the architecture itself is rather straightforward, liberty is taken in the fine etching, the grand sculpting and the mysterious arches. All of these features are suggestive of the complexity of technical design pertaining to the tradition of mannerism.

However, it would not be accurate to characterize this as qualifying such examples as a subset of mannerism. To the contrary, the French architecture which would emerge and populate France both urban and rural through the Renaissance era would instead conform very much to the ambitions of the Renaissance aesthetic. Such is to say that the stateliness of natural beauty and the straightforward representation of form would remain central values to the architectural tradition. Such prominent structures as the Tuileries Palace are demonstrative of the decadent symmetry associated with the high renaissance tradition. The famous Louvre courtyard, the acreage of natural greenery and the lines of identical windows and central dome at Tuileres all are demonstrative of the renaissance impulse toward environmentally compatible grandness.

And as a point of fact, it is essential to dismiss the claim that mannerism could be considered the umbrella term for the architectural production of the French Renaissance through an understanding of the tradition that actually yielded said production. Again, as we have addressed, mannerism would play a part in the aesthetic impressions on the facades of France’s renaissance chateaus. However, its impact would be superficial where compared with France’s own architectural traditions, which would remain dominant in the structures of the era. The whole of this discussion is precipitated upon the invasion of Naples by conquering French king, Charles VIII in 1496. (Gordon, 1) it was at this juncture that France came into contact with the artistic output of the renaissance artists and the mannerists. Their influences would be profoundly felt in the artistic, literary and architectural patterns of the time.

However, these influences would not erase the categorical impulses of French tradition. As our research tells, it would be the French gothic tradition that would in fact have the most pervasive effect on the French structures of the succeeding artistic periods. With the addition of Italian Renaissance influences, the approach would take on new and important features. Accordingly, we find that in many of the French chateaus that emerged during the renaissance era, “Italian decorative elements were superimposed on Gothic principles. The earliest example is the Chateau d’Amboise (c.1495), where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years. The Chateau de Chambord (1519-36) is a more elaborate marriage of Gothic structure and Italianate ornament.” (Gordon, 1) it is appropriate in light of this claim to reflect on the dominant influence of the gothic tradition in French architectural history. This should serve as an effective counter-argument to the contention that we might think of French renaissance art as a subset of mannerism. This would be to diminish the relevance and indeed the dominance of French gothic tradition in the renaissance expressions of the following era. We can see a clear and logical sequence by which the cathedrals of the middle ages have given way to the chateaus and palaces of the renaissance.

Today, some of the most revered leaps in architectural technology and aesthetic revelation may be drawn to what are often derisively referred to as the dark ages. The connection between the gothic architectural approach evident in this time and the expressive naturalism of renaissance structures is clear in a discussion on the still remarkable preserved Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris and the Abbey Church of St. Denis. In conjunction with the preeminence of Paris in the encampment of the Roman Catholic Church, “architects converged on Paris and, in the dynamic atmosphere of the court, created a different Gothic in the construction at Saint-Denis ( 1230’s and 1240’s) . . . And the addition of transepts to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in the late 1240’s, 1250’s, and 1260’s.” (Stoddard, 281) These two grand structures, twin pillars of the Early Gothic period initiated with the groundwork in the 12th century, would be important for their innovative solutions to desires of scales and would, in the same stroke, run aground of the very same impulses that would relegate the Middle Ages to such a negative connotation in our collective retrospect. In doing such, these would help to connect the style of artistic impulse known as mannerism to the dominant architecture that would emerge in the coming centuries.

And indeed, these examples are valuable because their respective completions would occur in rough simultaneity to the onset of the Renaissance in Italy. In the centuries which had passed since the initiation of each project, gothic tendencies had simply evolved to incorporate degrees both of renaissance-based romanticism and stylized mannerism. Indeed, the Western Halls of the Abbey Church or the Basilica of St. Denis, currently located in what is essentially a suburb of Paris, were dedicated in June of 1140, distinguishing these structures as what Summer Mck. Crosby labels the first known examples of the Early Gothic style of royal cathedral architecture. (Crosby, 1) Like Notre Dame though, the twelfth century foundation would result in the final completion of its original plans until the mid-fourteenth century. The sheer length of time designated to each suggests a great deal about the excess of resources, man-power and conceit which were reserved for the cite of worship, historical documentation, deference to the shared authority of the Crown and Church and, in the case of St. Denis, the interment of France’s Kings. And embodied in this long process would be the incorporation of a host of aesthetic, spiritual and sociological impulses that would ultimately feed into the political and philosophical machinations of the renaissance. Thus, it may be that there is some elevated degree of credit to be given to the French Renaissance architects who ultimately completed these structures so unprecedented in their size.

It must be acknowledged that the construction of the Cathedral at Notre Dame would, in France, represent nothing less significant than the transition from a Roman tradition of building aesthetic values to a distinct manifestation of the Middle Ages in Europe. Begun in 1163 under the aspirations of Roman Catholic leaders in order to replace a cathedral then considered unfit to house the worship of the first French pope. From this origin, by its very admission inclined to augment and elaborate man’s house of worship, it had been assured that Notre Dame would attempt to orient a new perspective with regard to the impulses guiding cathedral construction. Quite so, it would help to build the framework for the more classically European styles that would soon become dominant on the French landscape.

To this consideration, we refer to what may well be regarded as the most important structure to be produced during the period known as the French Renaissance. The Loire Valley is home to many of the most remarkable and pleasing structures of the era in question. In particular, we consider such examples as the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau. A white palace flanked with towers and set on a reflecting body of water, it is the peak of architectural taste and sheer beauty. Its dependency on the use of nature and on the responsiveness of the natural setting to a fundamentally compatible structure are both features of the renaissance tradition in which it was produced. Simultaneously, the palatial impression of the work is unquestionably gothic. Hard stone edifice peaks as spindly towers and the interior appears to demonstrate yet a more refined use of the flying buttress just two centuries hence of its introduction to gothic France.

This convergence of gothic and renaissance influences causes a return to the initial question concerning mannerism. Again, we can consider an array of chateaus in France which may demonstrate some aspect of the tradition. That such artists as da Vinci would bear an influence on France is suggestive of the inevitable impact which such a movement will have had on the country. However, to remark that its architecture was somehow merely a function of the mannerist influence is to disregard the clear evidence of a consistent gothic tradition and a commitment to the principles of the high renaissance in French architecture. Ultimately, we resolve in this discussion that the architectural output of the French Renaissance would be part of a linear tradition in which some of the impulses of the gothic era would be refined and in which the influence of foreign movements — most specifically that of the Italians — would have a significant impact on the aesthetic values thereby represented. Therefore, we must argue that even if the tradition of architecture is the sum of its parts, it does represent a fully unique tradition identifiable by its own category.

Works Cited

Art Movements. (2008). Mannerism. Art Industri. Online at

Brown, Elizabeth a.R. & Michael W. Cothren. 1986. The Twelfth Century Crusading Window of the Abbey of Saint-Denis. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 49.

Crosby, Summer McK. 1970. The West Portals of Saint-Denis and the Saint-Denis Style. Gesta, Vol. 9, No 2.

Cupola Consulting. (1998) Renaissance and Mannerist Architecture. Cupola. Online at

Davis, Michael T. Mar. 1998. Splendor and Peril: The Cathedral of Paris, 1290-1350. The Art Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 1.

Frankl, Paul. 1962. Gothic Architecture. Penguin Books.

Gordon, a.R. (1997). French Art and Architecture. Groller Media. Online at

Murray, Stephen. Jun. 1998. Notre-Dame of Paris and the Anticipation of Gothic. The Art Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 2.

Seymour, Charles Jr. 1939. Notre-Dame of Noyon in the Twelfth

Century: A Study of the Early Development of Gothic

Architecture. Yale University Press.

Stoddard, Whitney S. 1972. Art and Architecture in Medieval France:

Medieval Architecture,

Sculpture, Stained Glass, Manuscripts, the Art of the Church Treasuries. Westview Press.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper