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Gérard Rousset-Charny

(b St Ouen, nr Paris, June 7, 1737; d Paris, Dec 29, 1818).

French architect and designer. He was the son of the gardener at the royal château of Choisy-le-Roi and attended Jacques-François Blondel’s school of architecture, the Ecole des Arts, winning third place in the Prix de Rome competition of 1759. He spent five years in Rome (1761–6) on a bursary granted by Louis XV, and he made friends there with Giovanni Battista Piranesi. He returned to France via Holland and England. In 1769, at the suggestion of the King’s surgeon Germain Pichault de la Martinière, he was commissioned to design the new Ecole de Chirurgie (1771–86; now the Faculté de Médecine, Paris). The layout is in the manner of an hôtel particulier, with a court surrounded by an Ionic colonnade and closed off from the present Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine by a columnar screen. It was this feature that made a great impression on Gondoin’s contemporaries, lacking as it does the usual inflections by projecting end pavilions and central ...

Article

Rococo  

Richard John and Ludwig Tavernier

A decorative style of the early to mid-18th century, primarily influencing the ornamental arts in Europe, especially in France, southern Germany and Austria. The character of its formal idiom is marked by asymmetry and naturalism, displaying in particular a fascination with shell-like and watery forms. Further information on the Rococo can be found in this dictionary within the survey articles on the relevant countries.

Richard John

The nature and limits of the Rococo have been the subject of controversy for over a century, and the debate shows little sign of resolution. As recently as 1966, entries in two major reference works, the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and the Enciclopedia universale dell’arte (EWA), were in complete contradiction, one altogether denying its status as a style, the other claiming that it ‘is not a mere ornamental style, but a style capable of suffusing all spheres of art’. The term Rococo seems to have been first used in the closing years of the 18th century, although it was not acknowledged by the ...