French architect, an important figure in the transition from Mannerism to Classicism. Born in Verneuil-sur-Oise, he was the son and grandson of architects (his grandfather was J. A. du Cerceau), settling in Paris in the 1590s. His work tended to eschew Mannerist decorative effects, and was more architectonic, sober, and monumental than that of his immediate predecessors. Of his three châteaux at Blérancourt, Aisne (1611–19), Coulommiers-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne (1613), and Luxembourg, Paris (from 1614), only the last and a pavilion at Blérancourt survive. The Luxembourg has rustication over the whole of the façades, presumably to emulate the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the childhood home of de Brosse's client, Maria de' Medici (1573–1642), widow of King Henri IV of France (1589–1610). De Brosse's other surviving works include the Palais de Justice de Bretagne, Rennes (1618), perhaps the very first work of true French Classicism, influenced by work at Fontainebleau and by Vignola. The handsome west front of the Church of St-Gervais, Paris (1616–23), with its superimposed unengaged Orders, was influenced by Vignola's Il Gesù front, Rome, and also by de l'Orme's frontispiece at Anet. It was designed by de Brosse, but probably found its final form at the hands of J. -C. Métezeau, who was the contractor, yet no mean architect himself. De Brosse's Protestant Temple at Charenton (1623—destroyed) seems to have influenced the design of subsequent Protestant churches in Northern Europe.
Blomfield (1974);Blunt (1982);Coope (1972);Jane Turner (1996)
Subjects: Architecture — Renaissance Art.