Blondel, Cours d’architecture
François Blondel’s Cours d’architecture formed part of two related editorial contexts: the program of teaching at the newly established Academie royale d’architecture and the broader publication program sponsored by the minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert to showcase the Crown’s architectural patronage.
The Académie’s institutional prestige ensured the book’s continued relevance. Although it had only one later edition (1698), the Cours exerted considerable influence both in future teaching at the Académie and in subsequent architectural publications. Philippe de La Hire, for example, used it as the basis for his conferences at the Académie for over two years, from July 1696 to October 1698, as did subsequent professors throughout the eighteenth century. Its universal ambition, its emphasis on “correctness”, and its method of classification according to design problems became defining qualities of a specifically French model of architectural theory. Later treatises by d’Aviler (1691) and Jacques-François Blondel (1771-1777), using the same title, also refer to the original in their structure and goals.