Nicolas François Mansart
architect; b. January 23, 1598; d. September 23, 1666.
Francois was the son of one Absolon Mansart, a master carpenter. At the age of twenty-four he constructed the portal of the church of the Feuillants in the Rue Saint-Honoré (Paris), now destroyed. In 1632 he began the church of the convent of the Filles de la Visitation (Paris), which was dedicated in 1634 as Notre-Dame-des-Anges (now used as a Protestant church). In 1634 he began extensive additions to the Hôtel Carnavalet in Paris (see Goujon, Jean), and in 1635, built the hôtel of the Marquis de la Vrillière, occupied by the Banque de France since 1811. In 1635, also, he was commissioned by Gaston, Duke of Orleans, to erect the great building at the rear of the court of the château of Blois (Loir-et-Gher). His scheme, interrupted by the death of Gaston, contemplated the entire reconstruction of the château. In 1645, Mansart began for Anne d'Autriche, queen of Louis XIII, the great church of the Val-de-Grâce (Paris). When the walls had reached a height of about 10 feet above the ground the work was transferred to Jacques Lemercier. Mansart afterward built for the château of Fresnes a chapel from the plans which he had made for the Val-de-Grâce, reduced to one third. At the invitation of Colbert (d. 1683), he made designs for the completion of the Louvre, but his intractable temperament prevented their execution (see Perrault, Claude). He built many residences in Paris, and châteaux in the provinces, which still exist. Many of his works are engraved in Marot.