Les Antiquitez de Rome
1500 - 1565
Marguerite de Navarre
1492 - 1549
Joachim du Bellay
1522 - 1560
A Little Bit About the Project
Architectural Influence in French Renaissance Literature defines the large scope of my research project. After initial research, I found that Joachim du Bellay, Marguerite de Navarre and Jacques Yver were three authors most often cited (in the context of French literature of the Renaissance) as those that frequently used architectural references. I initially intended to read at least one work of each author, but in the end, I eliminated Yver, limited myself to a portion of the Heptameron (the first two days), and read Du Bellay’s entire corpus.
As I read these poems and prose, my understanding of architecture and French literature shifted and grew. Landscapes, buildings, and materials started to take shape and morph into complex symbols and metaphors. I hope I have grasped them well enough as to explain them through my drawings and text. As my own definition of architecture and French literature has transformed, I suspect that yours may as well, with my help.
Marguerite d'Angoulême, portrait by Jean Clouet (attributed), ca. 1527, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Joachim du Bellay (1522-1560), portrait by Charles-Etienne Gaucher (attributed), ca. 1760, Chateau de Versailles et de Trianon, Paris, France
"Le Babylonien ses haults murs vantera- et ses vergers en l'air"
Throughout the research process, I hoped to find out more about French culture from the perspective of Du Bellay and Marguerite de Navarre. Originally, I thought it would be easy to see what role architecture might have played in daily life. Instead, I found metaphors and symbols that I had to decipher, while learning to read Renaissance French, which is quite different from modern French. The more frequently an architectural reference emerged, the more convoluted its meaning became. I hope each reference presented here helps illustrate the culture and specificity of Renaissance France.