Musée d'Orsay: Alphonse Gosset Rome, Farnese palace

Alphonse Gosset
Rome, Farnese palace

Rome, Farnese palace, elevation of the ground floor overlooking the courtyard
Alphonse Gosset (1835-1914)
Rome, Farnese palace, elevation of the ground floor overlooking the courtyard
Pencil and wash
H. 28,2; W. 25,2 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Rome, palais Farnèse, élévation du rez-de-chaussée sur cour [Rome, Farnese palace, elevation of the ground floor overlooking the courtyard]

Alphonse Gosset, whose grandfather and father were architects in the Rheims area, trained firstly with his father in Rheims, then, in 1857, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After winning several medals, he left to complete his studies in Italy, returning with many drawings. This one is part of a collection of over thirty drawings of the Farnese Palace that are in the Musée d'Orsay. This collection offers a perfect example of the way the architects dissected Italian architecture: a written memoire, a rough draft, a study of the orders, a watercolour - all methods of learning were used to analyse, to understand and to remember...

Originally designed as a family home, the Farnese Palace was built at the beginning of the 16th century by Antonio da Sangallo and Michelangelo for Alessandro Farnese, who became Pope Paul III in 1534. After a period as a residence for the ambassadors of the kings of France – a role it has returned to today – it was, in Gosset's time, occupied by Francis II of Bourbon, a descendant of the Farnese family, and his family.
From the early 19th century, it was the models provided by the Italian Renaissance that interested architects above all others. The Farnese Palace, an emblematic building of this period, was for them, a unique place of pilgrimage. However, there was a significant difference between the references studied by the young architects and the buildings they recorded for the French Academy in Rome. In fact, it was not until 1869 that a student at the Villa Medici chose the Farnese Palace for his annual submission to the Academy. Until then, priority had been given to the classical monuments.

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