This Renaissance palace is the masterpiece of Sébastiano Serlio, a celebrated Italian architect working for King François I.
The chateau, built according to a centred and quadrangular building plan, is a large square construction. Four equal wings are flanked by four square pavilions. It is an elegant, sober and harmonious construction, around a magnificent courtyard. The symmetry of the spaces, the harmony of the facades, the use of squares, the coherence and rigidity of the whole gives witness to the genius of Serlio.
The inner courtyard or Cour d’Honneur is one of the most elegant in France. It is made up of two arcades, with arches, niches and ribbed columns in regular rows. The four walls rising up around it are all enhanced with ornamentations and richly sculpted elements. The architect introduced a new type of architecture in France and the chateau is one of the first in the country for which a design plan was created first.
The lay-out of all the parts, the large bays, the abundant vaults, coffered ceilings, the refined details… the whole of the building is a signature of the Italian master, Sébastiano Serlio* (Bologne 1475- Fontainebleau 1554).
The Chateau of Ancy-le-Franc is an Italian creation in which the architect has also been able to apply the French tradition and for which he has adjusted to the taste of the sponsor, Antoine III de Clermont, brother-in-law of Diane de Poitiers.
*Serlio is the author of an influential treatise of architecture in 8 volumes, a reference work on Renaissance architecture.
A contemporary work to explore is the one by Sabine Frommel: ‘Sébastiano Serlio, Architecte de la Renaissance’ published by Gallimard.