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Robert de Cotte and the Perfection of Architecture in Eighteenth-Century France
by Robert Neuman
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Cloth: 978-0-226-57437-0
Library of Congress Classification NA1053.C64N48 1994
Dewey Decimal Classification 720.92

Robert de Cotte (1656/7-1735), Principal Architect to the King of France, was among the most prominent European architects of his day. In a period that witnessed the ascendancy of Paris over Rome as the international center of fashion, princes and nobles in Germany, Italy, and Spain eagerly commissioned him to design buildings in the French court style. Robert Neuman provides the first comprehensive examination of fifty or so building projects by de Cotte, which include such extant works as the Hôtel d'Estrées, Paris; Schloss Poppelsdorf, Bonn; and his universally acknowledged masterpiece, the Palais Rohan, Strasbourg.

After describing de Cotte's training and the professional context in which he worked, Neuman offers a thorough survey of de Cotte's output. For each commission, he recreates the actual design process, showing how de Cotte manipulated an accepted vocabulary of architectural forms to meet the patron's specific requirements. De Cotte's own drawings, many reproduced here for the first time, and quotations from a wide variety of contemporary writings vividly supplement the case histories. Beautifully illustrated, Neuman's much-needed book reveals de Cotte as an innovative and strikingly modern architect.
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