Artists “Out Takes” from 1992 European Tour

A couple of little teasers…

bert1.jpgBert Seabourn sneaks us into Chambord Castle… by whistling….

ben_harjo1.jpgBen Harjo tells Denny Haskew that he will teach him how to get around in the Paris metro…

Read about the castle (which is actually a chateau….) that Bert helped sneak us into!

Source for the following: http://castles.org/castles/Europe/Western_Europe/France/france5.htm

The Chateau of Chambord in one of the loveliest Renaissance buildings in the Valley of the Loire. Chambord, chateau, park, and village in the department of Loire-et-Cher in central France. The chateau of Chambord was a retreat for French kings, especially Louis XIV It was under his auspices that French dramatist Moliare’s Monsieur de Pourceaugnac and Le bourgeois Gentilhomme were first produced there.

Building of the chateau was begun by Francis I in 1519, and was completed in 1547. Florentine artist Leonardo da Vinci paid a short visit to the building during its construction and added a few embellishments to it. The structure, containing 440 rooms, 365 fireplace, 13 great staircases, and stables to accommodate 1200 horses, stands in a park surrounded by a wall of 22 miles in circumference. 1800 men worked on the chateau.

The archives offers us no information as to the name of the architect but an analysis of the structure reveals a profound influence of Leonardo’s thought and a extremely close tie to some of the projects by Domenico da Cortona, and Italian architect.

Te staircase is related to a project by Leonardo which consisted of four distinct superimposed flights of stairs, in order words, just as many stairs as quarters and arms of the cross of the castle. It is therefore likely that Leonardo da Vinci staircase, which may have been conceived for Chambord, was then simplified when it was built by the master masons of the building yard.

The interior of the lantern over the spiral staircase and a detail of the paneled ceiling with the salamander and the F of Francis I
The double spiral staircase supported by eight square pillars

Outside views

The archives offer us no information as the name of the architect but there is influence of Leonardo de Vinci and close tie to some of the projects by Domenico da Cartona , and Italian architect. The spiral staircase derives from a medieval concept. it goes far beyond it in its unique division into two separate flights with numerous openings on the arms of the corridors. A tribute to the former medieval French tradition is to be found in the presence of powerful cylindrical towers at the corners of the keep. The top of the stairs leads to the large terraces of the castle.

After Francis I death in 1574 the castle was practically unused for about fifty years.

After having passed through other hands, the chateau risked being demolished after the Revolution and in 1793 the furnishings were dispersed. In 1947 the State began restorations which were continued for 30 years.

Source for the following: http://www.francemonthly.com/n/0302/index.php

The Chambord Castle
Chambord chateau of the Loire Valley

Construction of Chambord castle took more than a quarter of a century. Started in 1518, work was interrupted in 1525 when the coffers of the Kingdom were completely empty, and didn’t resume until October 1526. From that date on, you could find up to 2,000 workers on the site at any given time. Having given up the totally unreasonable plan of rerouting the river Loire to bring it to the foot of his castle, the castle, completed in 1547, contains 440 rooms, 84 staircases, 365 fireplaces (one for each day of the year). It also has stables to accommodate 1,200 horses. The property is surrounded by 20 miles of walls which protect more than 13,000 acres of woods. This huge hunting reserve covers as much ground as all of Paris!

Chambord chateau of the Loire Valley

The Lovers’ Stairs
The initial wooden model of the Chambord castle, which no longer exists, was attributed to an architect known as ‘le Boccador’. However, the name of the actual project architect remains a mystery. The plan suggests both French medieval architecture with its typical cylindrical towers at the corners of the castle, and the influence of Italian Renaissance architecture, specifically that of the Italian architect Domenico da Cortona. Leonardo da Vinci as well is thought to have participated in the design, as one of the master rooms of the castle is attributed to him. It houses a double spiral staircase, with each stairway superimposed on the other so that two people can climb or descend simultaneously without ever having to meet each other. Some say it was designed so that kings wouldn’t ever have to cross paths with servants, others say that one staircase was for the king’s wife and the other for the king’s mistress. The overlapping staircases are located at the intersection of 4 huge rooms forming a cross. Crowned by a 125 ft high lantern, they lead to a magnificent rooftop terrace. In her time, Catherine de Medicis, a passionate of astrology, would often climb to the lantern and consult the stars.

Source for the following: http://www.chambord.org/Mer/vinci.htm
What did Leonardo da Vinci do in the castle ?
leo.jpg (10415 octets)Leonardo was a great artist and scientist. He painted many famous paintings and invented ingenious appartus. He was born on 15 April 1452 in Vinci. His father was a notary (Piero Da Vinci) and he had 18 brothers and sisters. In the begining, in Florence, he learnt painting, stonecarving and drawing in Verrochio’s studio in 1470. He liked mathematics and music too.
When he was 16 years old, Leonardo went to Milan, Mantoa, Venice, Rome where he perfected his art. Later, he came back to Florence and he met Michel-Angelo. Eventually, he stayed again in Milan, then in Rome where the great artist of the time was Raphaëllo. Finally, Leonardo, desillusioned, accepted François I’s invitation in 1516 to come to France where he spent a peaceful end of life (in Clos Lucé, near Amboise ).

escal.jpg (18078 octets)Leonardo Da Vinci may have had the idea of a spiral staircase, but we don’t know if he realized the castle’s map because we haven’t got any proof. On the other hand, we have indications :
First, we know that François I met Leonardo in Italy and he was impressed by his work of art. The king wanted Leonardo as his first architect and the artist accepted François’s invitation. So, he arrived in France in 1516. He lived in the Clos Lucé, in Amboise near Chambord.
Finally, a keep plan and a church plan by Leonardo were found which resembled Chambord’s layout a lot.
The staircase in the church plan looks very much like Chambord’s double spiral. This plan is our only indication for Leonardo’s participation in the castle’s architecture.

The central staircase which is in the middle keep is the most famous French Renaissance staircase. This staircase has a majestic architecture : a double spiral winds around a hollow centre so that two people, going up or down can never meet. A beautiful lantern stands above of the staircase.

Chambord Castle
Source of the following: http://www.cometofrance.com/page-honeymoon_package-en-honeymoon_package.html
Chambord Loire Valley Castle

The Chateau of Chambord in one of the loveliest Renaissance buildings in the Valley of the Loire. It was a retreat for French kings, especially Louis XIV. It was under his auspices that French dramatist Molière’s Monsieur de Pourceaugnac and Le bourgeois Gentilhomme were first produced there.

Building of the château was begun by Francis I in 1519, and was completed in 1547. Florentine artist Leonardo da Vinci paid a short visit to the building during its construction and added a few embellishments to it. The structure, containing 440 rooms, 365 fireplace, 13 great staircases, and stables to accommodate 1200 horses, stands in a park surrounded by a wall of 22 miles in circumference. 1800 men worked on the chateau.

Chambord Loire Valley CastleThe archives offers us no information as to the name of the architect but an analysis of the structure reveals a profound influence of Leonardo’s thought and a extremely close tie to some of the projects by Domenico da Cortona, and Italian architect.

Te staircase is related to a project by Leonardo which consisted of four distinct superimposed flights of stairs, in order words, just as many stairs as quarters and arms of the cross of the castle. It is therefore likely that Leonardo da Vinci staircase, which may have been conceived for Chambord, was then simplified when it was built by the master masons of the building yard.

The archives offer us no information as the name of the architect but there is influence of Leonardo de Vinci and close tie to some of the projects by Domenico da Cartona, and Italian architect. The spiral staircase derives from a medieval concept. It goes far beyond it in its unique division into two separate flights with numerous openings on the arms of the corridors. A tribute to the former medieval French tradition is to be found in the presence of powerful cylindrical towers at the corners of the keep. The top of the stairs leads to the large terraces of the castle.

After Francis I death in 1574 the castle was practically unused for about fifty years. After having passed through other hands, the chateau risked being demolished after the Revolution and in 1793 the furnishings were dispersed.

Source of the following: http://www.ams.org/notices/200303/fea-colding-web.pdf

This one has some great diagrams of the staircase! Check it out!
Double Spiral Staircases
A double spiral staircase consists of two staircases that spiral around one another so that two people can pass each other without meeting. Figure II shows Leonardo da Vinci’s double spiral staircase in Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley in France. The construction of the castle began in 1519 (the same year that Leonardo da Vinci died) and was completed in 1539. In Figure III we see a model of the staircase where we can clearly see the two staircases spiraling around one another. The double spiral staircase has, with its simple yet surprising design, fascinated and inspired many people. We quote here from Mademoiselle de Montpensier’s2 memoirs. “One of the most peculiar and remarkable things about the house [the castle at Chambord] are the stairs, which are made so that one person can ascend and another descend without meeting, yet they can see each other. Monsieur [Gaston of Orléans, the father of Mademoiselle de Montpensier] amused himself by playing with me. He would be at the top of the stairs when I arrived; he would descend when I was ascending, and he would laugh when he saw me run in the hope of catching him. I was happy when he was amused and even more when I caught him.” Leonardo da Vinci had many ideas for designs involving double spiral staircases. Two of his main interests were water flow and military instruments. For Leonardo everything was connected, from the braiding of a girl’s hair (see for instance the famous drawing of Leda and the swan) to the flow of water (which also exhibits a double spiral behavior when it passes an obstacle like the branch of a tree). He designed water pumps that were formed as double spiral staircases that supposedly would pump more efficiently than the more standard Archimedean pump then in use. He designed fire escapes formed as double (and greater multiples) spiral staircases where each staircase was inapproachable from another, thus preventing the fire from jumping from one staircase to another. That they spiraled together made them very space efficient. This basic design idea for fire escapeshas become quite standard; for example, both the fire escapes in Fine Hall at Princeton University and the fire escapes in New York University’s Silver Towers use this idea.

Published in: on June 11, 2007 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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