The Loire and its Castles: from the Roman Era to the Classic Age

Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Loire and its Castles: from the Roman Era to the Classic Age

  • Host University

    Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

  • Location

    Paris, France

  • Area of Study

    French Culture

  • Language Level

    Beginning, Intermediate, High Intermediate, Advanced, High Advanced, Superior

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This series of lectures is about the multiplicity of castles, abbeys, and churches on a territory that is defined as French progressively from Romanesque times to the Renaissance and the 17th century.

    In this context we will refer to some essential events of spring 2018: exhibitions, birthdays, concerts ...
    Course contents: Some aspects of the castle concept in France, in the Loire Valley, from medieval fortresses to classical palaces (from the Romanesque period to the 17th century).

    Program by session:
    1 - Build abbeys, churches, castles? History of a construction frenzy.
    Abbeys & Romanesque architecture, 10th-13th centuries, Fontevraud; castles before the Hundred Years War.
    And parallel, introduction to the French Renaissance, the castle of Blois, unique example of styles, 4 centuries of architecture (Counts of Chatillon, 13th century, Charles of Orleans, mid-15th century, Louis XII, 1498-1505, François 1st, 1515-1524, Gaston of Orleans, 1635-1638) ...

    2 - History of a frenzy of construction, continued. From Romanesque to Gothic: why "gothic"?
    The work of Aliénor d'Aquitaine in Poitiers, a cathedral, a stained glass window.
    A construction site in the Middle Ages ... Cathedrals at the tower of Babel?
    The beginning of Gothic cathedrals ...
    1. Birth of Gothic art: 1140-1190.
    2. Classical Gothic: 1190-1240.
    The castles of the Gothic period (the Hundred Years War, 1337-1453).
    Blois, continued.

    3 - The cathedral as a symbol; Reims, modern cathedral, "martyr cathedral".
    From Gothic to Renaissance: preparation for the great projects of the Renaissance.
    From the heavenly Jerusalem to the time of war, why not build cathedrals?
    3. Radiant Gothic: 1230-1350 [Notre Dame of Paris; The Sainte-Chapelle, Palace of the City, Paris]
    4. Flamboyant Gothic: 1350-1520.
    The Loire Valley and the Renaissance.

    4- The Sainte-Chapelle, Palace of the City, Paris, around 1242-1248. Reliquary and symbol; some stained glass windows; from radiant Gothic to flamboyant Gothic
    To build castles in peacetime in a reconquered territory, but which castles and for what purpose?
    Stories of ladies: At my only desire ...
    The Lady with the Unicorn (before 1500) 1st part.
    Introduction to the castle of Chambord (started in 1519, François 1st).

    5- Stories of ladies: At my only desire ..., continued.
    The Lady with the Unicorn (before 1500) 2nd part, the five senses?
    Chambord, continued.
    Another adventure from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance: the Château de Chenonceau, the "ladies' castle" (1515-1560)
    The story of Diane de Poitiers (1499-1556) and Catherine de Medici (1519-1589). A bridge, an island and two gardens?

    6- Chenonceau, part 2, the castle of my dreams? The castle "ladies" (1515-1560).
    The story of Diane de Poitiers (1499-1556) and Catherine de Medici (1519-1589).
    A bridge, an island, a dream and two gardens?

    7- A castle or an island? Azay-le-Rideau, on the Indre (1518, 1527).
    The spirit of an era, ideas, arts, and still wars, Catholic and Protestant,
    a return to Blois to evoke the wars of religion.
    Royal portraits, the time of Jean (1480-1541) & François (c.1520-1572) Clouet, painters.
    The School of Fontainebleau ...
    And in Paris?
    Jean Goujon (1520-1572), sculptor, at the Carnavalet hotel, in the Marais, in Paris.
    And a Renaissance castle that is not in the Loire Valley: the castle of La Rochefoucauld, on the Tardoire, Charente, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

    8- The School of Fontainebleau, continuation.
    The Château d'Amboise where Francis I stayed from 1515 to 1518; when he returned from Marignan in 1516, he established Leonardo da Vinci nearby, at Cloux Castle: Le Clos Lucé (1471, Leonardo da Vinci spent the end of his life there from 1516 to 1519).
    The painting, the influence of Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci, says Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), 1st part.

    9- The painting, the influence of Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci, says Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Part 2, portraits, a certain Mona Lisa, the happy woman? It's a story! Sfumato, contrapposto ...
    And in Paris?
    - Sens Hotel (Forney Library), late 15th century ...
    - Hotel Kernevenoy (Carnavalet), 1548, continued.
    - Hôtel de Sully (from 1625), in the Marais, after the Renaissance.

    10- The Castle of Cheverny (1630-1634), the castle of Moulinsart?
    A castle of the Loire in the 17th century


    A symbol, a region where life is good: we will study together some aspects of the construction, architecture, in France, from the year 1000 to the 17th century; starting with Romanesque and Gothic art (abbeys, churches, cathedrals), our route will lead us to the castles of the Loire of the Renaissance, then to the Gaston d'Orléans wing of the castle of Blois (a crazy dream) 17th century) and Cheverny Castle (17th century): the symbol and spirit of a territory conquered and reconquered, a region of the sweetness of life.

    Pedagogical approach:
    Course delivered in the form of lectures (lecture) with emphasis on dialogue with students; questions are put to them (this is part of the course) and they can intervene themselves.

    Supporting Materials:
    Course of "multimedia" type: audio, photo, video.
    - In each class, videos, film excerpts and documentaries are presented,
    - as well as sound examples (music of the studied time, voices and testimonies).
    - Photos of the works and subjects studied are shown systematically; Power Point support or other.
    - Some quotes as well as the difficult words are projected for explanation, discussion and pronunciation.
    After the session:
    Written support distributed at the beginning of the conference that allows students to better organize note taking and revisions

    Rating out of 20 - 1 out of 20 controls.
    - The exam will be of "multiple choice" type (works, photos, projected videos to identify and check on a list), duration one hour,
    - + essay for more advanced levels to be written in French (3 pages on average, double spaced) and to be submitted during the last three weeks of the course (deadline: the final exam in class).

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.