A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   There has been much discus-
sion as to the architect employed by Francis I., and
the honor of having designed - Page 40
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There Has Been Much Discus- Sion As To The Architect Employed By Francis I., And The Honor Of Having Designed This Splendid Residence Has Been Claimed For Several Of The Italian Artists Who Early In The Sixteenth Century Came To Seek Patronage In France.

It seems well established to-day, however, that Chambord was the work neither of Primaticcio, of Vignola, nor of

Il Rosso, all of whom have left some trace of their sojourn in France; but of an obscure yet very complete genius, Pierre Nepveu, known as Pierre Trinqueau, who is designated in the papers which preserve in some degree the history of the origin of the edifice, as the _maistre de l'oeuvre de maconnerie._ Behind this modest title, apparently, we must recognize one of the most original talents of the French Renaissance; and it is a proof of the vigor of the artistic life of that period that, brilliant pro- duction being everywhere abundant, an artist of so high a value should not have been treated by his con- temporaries as a celebrity. We manage things very differently to-day.

The immediate successors of Francis I. continued to visit, Chambord; but it was neglected by Henry IV., and was never afterwards a favorite residence of any French king. Louis XIV. appeared there on several occasions, and the apparition was characteristically brilliant; but Chambord could not long detain a monarch who had gone to the expense of creating a Versailles ten miles from Paris. With Versailles, Fon- tainebleau, Saint-Germain, and Saint-Cloud within easy reach of their capital, the later French sovereigns had little reason to take the air in the dreariest province of their kingdom.

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