château of Ecouen

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French château in Val d’Oise. The château was built for anne Montmorency, Constable of France, between 1531 and 1563, and it is the first example in France of a four-wing plan, with corner pavilions, around a central court. It is sited on a hill, with façades corresponding to the four points of the compass and the entrance wing (destr. 1787) on the east. The steep drop of the north face of the hill is secured by a terrace, beneath which lay a ball-playing pitch (jeu de paume) that was demolished in 1793. On all but the north side the château is enclosed by a sizeable moat, from which the core of the building is separated by a narrow terrace. The garden shown to the north-east in a 16th-century engraving was never laid out. The four wings of the château are situated around a court measuring 45×40 m; their façades are articulated with pilaster strips (imposts) and cross-mullioned windows (croisées). On several façades porticos were erected, employing antique column orders.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.