A Lantern Aloft

Lieven Cruyl Records Guarini’s Sainte-Anne-la Royale

Cruyl Pont Royal detail GallicaLieven Cruyl, Construction du Pont Royal, 1686, detail
Source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Flemish artist and architect Lieven Cruyl (c. 1640 – c. 1720) was one of the most attentive observers of seventeenth-century cities in France and Italy. His drawings and engravings of Rome, in particular, provide valuable, extremely accurate records of the Baroque city.

During a stay in Paris in the late 1680s, Cruyl documented the construction of the Pont Royal in a series of drawings and an engraving. Fortunately, these images also captured the state of Guarino Guarini’s unfinished Theatine church Sainte-Anne-la-Royale nearby, twenty years after construction there had halted due to a lack of funds. The church, with its facade facing the Louvre, was to have stretched from the Seine all the way through the block to a rear street. Only the transept was completed, though, and turned into the nave of a much smaller church. This remained buried in the block, surrounded by houses on all sides, as published by Jacques-François Blondel in his Architecture Françoise (1752).

British Museum Cruyl ParisLieven Cruyl, La ville de Paris, vue du côté du Pont Royal des Tuileries…, c. 1687
Source: © The Trustees of the British Museum

In 2001 I discussed Cruyl’s engraving of the completed Pont Royal (above, click to enlarge), where Sainte-Anne may be seen at no. 38 on the right side of print. This engraved image shows the conical temporary cover placed over the incomplete church crossing with some sort of lantern adjacent, as well as some articulation of the lateral elevation, and it gives a sense of the building’s volume, but few other details are visible.

Cruyl Pont Royal GallicaLieven Cruyl, Construction du Pont Royal, 1686, detail
Source: gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France

Now, close inspection of one of Cruyl’s studies of the bridge construction (above here, and top detail) reveals an even better view of Guarini’s Paris church. The conical crossing cover is again visible, but also a clear image of one of the original transept vault lanterns on an elongated hexagonal plan, much as Guarini presented the feature in the engravings for his treatise (below). A dentil cornice can also be made out, as Guarini published for the second order of the facade and in a detail on the elevation plate, although it is not indicated for the transepts on same plate.

The conical temporary dome covering and any visible lanterns were all covered over in 1714-20, when lottery funds were donated to put a uniform, high-pitched roof on the structure, hiding Guarini’s lantern from the Parisian skyline. The church covered with the high roof may be seen in numerous views throughout the eighteenth-century. In the middle of the century, portals with corridors leading to the church inside the block were added to the front and rear streets, providing more dignified access to the Theatines’ remaining Parisian foothold.

The church was largely demolished during the 1820s, although a few remnants have been incorporated into structures still on the site today.

Ste-Anne planSte-Anne elevationSte-Anne section
Left to right: Guarino Guarini, “Chiesa di S. Anna la Reale di Parigi…,” “Prospetto esteriore di S. Anna R.le di Parigi,” and “Prospetto interno di S. Anna Reale di Parigi,” Dissegni d’architettura civile… (Turin: Gianelli,1686), plates 9-11, engraved by Giovanni Fayneau and Antonio De Piene.
Source: Getty Research Library / Internet Archive

Further Reading

David R. Coffin, “Padre Guarino Guarini in Paris,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 15: 2 (May, 1956): 3-11.

Augusta Lange, “Disegni e documenti di Guarino Guarini,” in V. Viale, editor, Guarino Guarini e l’internazionalità del Barocco, vol. 1 (Turin: Accademia delle scienze, 1970): here, 103-116.

Giuseppe Dardanello, “La scena urbana,” in G. Romano, editor, Torino 1675-1699. Strategie e conflitti del Barocco (Turin: Fondazione CRT, 1993): here, 51-54.

Susan Klaiber, “Guarini e Parigi: interscambi culturali e critici,” in G. Dardanello, editor, Sperimentare l’architettura. Guarini, Juvarra, Alfieri, Borra e Vittone (Turin: Fondazione CRT, 2001): 15-36.

Edoardo Piccoli, “Una pianta della Sainte-Anne-la-Royale di Guarini nel fondo de Cotte,” in G. Dardanello, S. Klaiber, and H. A. Millon, editors, Guarino Guarini (Turin: Umberto Allemandi & C., 2006): 284-289.