The decorative style at Gaillon between Flamboyant and Renaissance
Gaillon is at one and the same time one of the last great châteaux at the height of the Late Gothic style
and one of the first where decorative motifs from Italy start to assume equal importance.
The result is a happy synthesis of the finest features of the two styles.
At the outset, the project followed the trend seen at the royal château at Blois, under construction
at the time: in buildings whose architecture and ornamentation were flamboyant Gothic in style,
the French artists began to sculpt a few 'classical' features here and there, notably in the courtyard,
on the columns of the north-east arcades (veritable little masterpieces of decorative carving)
and the south-east arcades.
Subsequently, Gaillon was to take a new turn, when Cardinal d'Amboise commissioned from Genoa
first of all medallions of Roman emperors in Carrara marble, to give unity to the façades
looking on to the courtyard and the Seine valley, and then superb fountains with numerous basins
and statues to adorn the courtyard and the garden.
Finally, the arrival in Gaillon of Italian sculptors such as Girolamo Paciarotto, known as Jérôme Pacherot,
and Guido Mazzoni, known as Paganino, would bring about a change of direction in the building style
and the decoration. Under their influence, the French sculptors would radically alter the vocabulary
of the château: the first floor of the little north-east arcade running along the main house was covered
in much more imposing pilasters and great swags; the entrance pavilion was given a new look, with a series
of bays based on the proportions of classical triumphal arches, the pilasters and pedestals being decorated
with delicate candelabras; and the gateway (known as the 'Genoa gate') opening on to the arcade
between the outer courtyard and the main courtyard was embellished with fluted half-columns
and superimposed pilasters flanking coffered arches.
Late Gothic keystone
Section of a friezeof trilobed blind arches
Altarpiece from the upper chapel
Back of choir stallin the upper chapel