St. Louis des Invalides

Designer Jules Hardouin Mansart Location Paris, France Date 1676 to 1691 Building Type hospital chapel Climate temperate Context urban Architectural Style French Renaissance Notes Great domed space.

Les Invalides, Paris, was initially designed by Libéral Bruant (1635-97) as a hospital for disabled army veterans and completed by 1677. However, even before the completion, Louis XIV was planning a second chapel on a grander sale. In 1680 J.H. Mansart produced the final design for the Dome des Invalides, a Greek cross inscribed in a square with an attached circular presbytery. It differs from its model, S. Peter's in Rome (q.v.), in its adoption of a circular crossing with vast free-standing columns and diagonal passages to the corner chapels. Externally, a towering effect is achieved by the pointed profile of the dome, the steeple-like lantern and the unusual insertion of a tall attic above the drum. Of the three shells of the dome two are visible internally. A coffered dome with a very wide oculus opens onto a further frescoed skin, an idea which was later developed by Vittone at Vallinotto (q.v.).

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