– France: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries
The arrival of the Renaissance in France is marked by the work of Italian artists at the courts of Charles VIII (1483-98) and Louis XII (1498-I 5 15). Because of the advent of printing, the first books on architectural design and urbanism served as an early means of taking the new ideas from I taly to France and other European countries; reading about these revolutionary theories, however, had little impact compared to actually experiencing examples of their application. I
Many individuals had made visits to Italy during the latter part of the fifteenth century, including both architects and their potential clients, but the first contact of lasting significance was made in 1494, when the French army under Charles VIII marched south through the country as far as Naples. The king and his court were faced, as Rasmussen puts it, with a style that made all they had known appear confused, crabbed and petty. At the same time these bold square palaces, these columns, balusters and round-headed arches, these garlands and .laurel wreaths were so disconcertingly novel that it took even the most progressive many years to digest them."