Lomonosov Moscow State University; The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Russia
During the 16th century French Renaissance became the most flourishing phenomenon among all the countries to the North of the Alps or, in other words, the brightest cultural apparition in the art of Ars Nova. The French architectural style or la manière française was formed due to the growth of the national consciousness. The French style evolves in the works of several artists and represents a source for the formal architectural language during the period of Ancien Régime.
The heritage of the most famous artists of the epoch, such as Philibert De L’Orme and Pierre Lescot, who executed lots of royal orders, is profoundly examined in the European and the Russian art history, but their contemporary Jean Bullant is still a lacuna because of few publications on this topic. Jean Bullant, supplanted by De L’Orme, remains unknown as far as the evolution of his works is concerned. Nevertheless, he was among the narrow group of artists who put the basis of the national architectural school, and contributed to the development of the architectural theory.
Jean Bullant began writing his treatises during the years of the disgrace after the death of the king Henry II. Then he was still working on the last orders of Anne de Montmorency, but was not yet invited to the court of Catherine of Medicis. The artist’s treatises — “Recueil d’horlogiographie” (1561), “Petit traité de géométrie et Recueil d’horlogiographie” (1562) and “Reigle généralle d’architecture des cinq manières de colonnes” (1564) belong to the earliest theoretical architectural publications in France. In his “Reigle généralle” Bullant reclaims ”De Architectura” of Leon Battista Alberti, he refers in particular to the French translation of Jean Martin and to the different editions of books IV and III of Serlio. But in his humanistic works “Recueil d’horlogiographie” and “Petit traité de géométrie et Recueil d’horlogiographie” he draws on the treatises of cartographers: “De Solaribus Horlogiis” by Oronce Fine and “Rudimentia Matematica” by Sebastian Münster.
In the contemporary science the problem of the heritage of Jean Bullant, architectural and theoretical as well, is still overlooked by researches in both Western and Russian historiography. Nevertheless, this artist contributed a lot to the formation of the French national architectural style, that’s why this topic is relevant.