The Château d'Anet is a château near Dreux, France, built by Philibert de l'Orme from 1547 to 1552 for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. It was a gift from the king and was built on the former château at the center of the domains of Diane's deceased husband, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet, Marshal of Normandy and Master of the Hunt.
The château is especially noted for its exterior, notably the statues of Diane de Poitiers as Diana, goddess of the hunt, by Jean Goujon and the relief by Benvenuto Cellini over the portal. Anet was the site of one of the first Italianate parterre gardens centered on the building's facade in France; the garden-designer in charge was Jacques Mollet, who trained his son at Anet, Claude Mollet, destined to become royal gardener to three French kings.
The château was built partly upon the foundations and cellar vaults of a feudal castle that had been dismantled by Charles V and was subsequently rebuilt as a Late Gothic manor of brick and stone.
The château was not pillaged during the French Revolution, but Diane de Poitiers' remains were removed to a pauper's ditch in the parish cemetery and the rich contents of the château, which were the property of King Louis XVI's cousin, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre, were sold at auction as biens nationals. A large part of the château was subsequently demolished, but only after Alexandre Lenoir was able to salvage some architectural elements for his Musée des monuments français ( presently situated in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris). The elements were reinstalled at Anet after World War II. The restoration of the château itself, in pitiable condition, was due to comte Adolphe de Caraman, who purchased it in 1840 and undertook a colossal program of restoration. In 1851, the minister of the interior granted Anet the status of a monument historique. Under financial duress, Caraman sold the château in 1860 to Ferdinand Moreau, who continued the restoration, purchasing furnishings and works of art that were thought to be originally from the château. The set of tapestry hangings woven for the château, in Paris, to cartoons by Jean Cousin, forming a History of Diana in compliment to Diane de Poitiers, is now widely scattered; it set a precedent for suites of Diana-themed tapestries that remained popular into the 18th century.
The free-standing chapel of Anet, built to the left of the cour d'honneur in 1549-1552, is designed on a centralized Greek cross floor plan under a diagonally-coffered dome. Its facade has a porch of widely spaced paired Ionic columns between towers crowned by pyramidal spires.In 1581, Henri III and his mother Catherine de' Medici came to the chapel to attend the baptism of the infant son of Charles, duc d'Aumale.
The property belonged to many of Louis XIV's descendants: Louise-Françoise de Bourbon died here in 1743, she was a daughter of the famous illegitimate son of Louis XIV, the Duc du Maine. His sons the prince des Dombes and comte d'Eu lived here when away from Versailles. It was later owned by the fabulously wealthy duc de Penthièvre, first cousin of the prince and the comte.
- The date 1552 is inscribed on the gateway.
- The original is now in the Louvre. A copy is at Anet.
- A Drowning of Britomartis at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was illustrated in the museum's Bulletin New Series, 12.6 (February 1954), p. 161; it is one of two from the suite at the Metropolitan Museum.
- Later examples to new cartoons are discussed by Roger-Armand Weigert, "Two tapestries in the Ashmolean Museum", The Burlington Magazine, 92 No. 568 (July 1950:193-195).
- Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, Memoirs, ch xlv, Kindle edition.
The entry pavilion for Chateau d'Anet was the inspiration for the façade of Robert Venturi's 1966 Guild House for the Elderly in Philadelphia.
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- Château d' Anet - official site