François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye

Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Regalis Abbatiæ S. Germani a Pratis Scenographia)

1687
Size : 41 x 56 cm
Color : Coloris original
Condition : Très bon
Technique : Pen, Indian ink and watercolor on strong paper.
Reference : 570
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Description

François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye, a monk architect and sculptor, contributed to the realization of numerous buildings such as the church of Saint Etienne in Caen, the abbey of Saint Lomer in Blois and the monastery of Saint Benoit sur Loire. Forgotten, this artist has been rediscovered thanks to the work of Abbé Poret[1] and André Rostand[2].

François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye is notably the author of several drawings for the Monasticon Gallicanum by Dom Michel Germain. Wishing to write a general history of the French abbeys of the Congregation of Saint-Maur, the latter compiled an album of topographical views representing the monasteries of his order and maps listing the Benedictine establishments in France. Even if it is difficult to make a precise genealogy of this project, it is certain that François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye played an important role for it by realizing numerous views of abbeys including that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. According to André Rostand, he also took care of the representations of the abbey of Jumièges, but also of the one of Préaux as well as of the Sainte-Trinité of Vendôme.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France also possesses a sheet devoted to the abbey of Saint-Père-en-Vallée in Chartres (illus. 01) which is also undoubtedly preparatory to the vast project of the famous Benedictine. Known through engravings but also thanks to a dozen copies of the original collection of the Monasticon Gallicanum (illus. 02), this watercolor composition representing the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés can now, thanks to this unpublished drawing, also be added to the work of François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye. With finesse and mastery, he restores the tangle of this group of abbey buildings where the Benedictine rule was introduced in the 11th century. This composition allows us to grasp the extent of what this vast architectural complex was in the 17th century. With its long history, the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés was one of the high points of French religious and intellectual life in the modern era. Mother abbey of the Saint-Maur congregation, it was home to the famous dom Jean Mabillon and dom Bernard de Montfaucon. François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye also frequented this establishment since he took part in the construction of the altar of this abbey [3].

[1] Abbé Porée, " Guillaume de La Tremblaye, sculpteur et architecte (1644-1715) ", in the Annuaire normand, 1884, p. 5-16.
[2] André Rostand, " Un grand constructeur et décorateur : frère Guillaume de la Tremblaye (1644-1715) ", in Revue Mabillon, 1957, p. 245-259.
[3] See André Rostand, " Un grand constructeur et décorateur : frère Guillaume de la Tremblaye (1644-1715) ", in Revue Mabillon, 1957, p. 245-259. ill. 01 : François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye. Abbatia S.ti Petri Carnutensis [Abbey of Saint-Père-en-Vallée in Chartres], 1682. pen, India ink and watercolor on paper, 39,5 x 55 cm, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France. ill. 02: after François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye, Abbaye de Saint Germain des Prés [Regalis Abbatiæ S. Germani a Pratis Scenographia], 1687. Pen, ink, and watercolor on paper, size unknown. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Indicative bibliography: Abbé Porée, " Guillaume de La Tremblaye, sculpteur et architecte (1644-1715) ", in the Annuaire normand, 1884, p. 5-16. André Rostand, " Un grand constructeur et décorateur : frère Guillaume de la Tremblaye (1644-1715) ", in the Revue Mabillon, 1957, p. 245-259.
Francis Salet, " Guillaume de La Tremblaye, architecte et décorateur ", in the Bulletin Monumental, tome 115, n°2, year 1957, p. 144-145
Bâtir pour Dieu : l'œuvre des religieux et religieuses architectes (XVIIème-XVIIIème siècles), act of a study day, Institut des sciences de l'homme, Université Lyon 3, April 2017, organized by the Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône-Alpes, ; under the direction of Julie Piront (dirs.) and Adriana Sénard-Kiernan (dirs.), Lyon, Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône-Alpes, LARHRA, UMR 5190, 2019, 169 p.

François-Guillaume de La Tremblaye