The Louvre Projects

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Bernini, Project for the Louvre façade,  1664

Bernini began his first Louvre project in 1664. Ultimately, this and two consecutive plans for the French palace failed. Specifically, the plans were for the East Wing of the Louvre. Bernini's first design featured a bold concave façade with a projecting entrance that bulged in the opposite direction, simultaneously welcoming and imposing. The plans, bursting with bold, handsome Roman characteristics, would've been entirely out of place in the Paris, whose architecture subscribed to more elegant and subdued beauty. Considering Bernini's overall dissatisfaction with the state of the artistic world in France, his attempt to inject his preferred style comes not as a surprise.

After the rejection of his first design, Bernini submitted another, basically the same design with the convex portion scooped out, leaving the indented half-circle to operate on its own as an entrance. The second design was rejected for similar reason: a Roman building just wouldn't do for the newest Parisian landmark.

Bernini's third and final design drew heavily from the design for the Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi, the façade of which was originally created by Bernini, but has since been redesigned several times. The Palazzo Chigi-Odescalchi, however, is also Roman, with a powerful, broad façade and grounded, blockish stories. This third design failed to pass, and Bernini left Paris's architecture uninfluenced.

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