1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Goujon, Jean
GOUJON, JEAN (c. 1520–c. 1566), French sculptor of the 16th century. Although some evidence has been offered in favour of the date 1520 (Archives de l’art français, iii. 350), the time and place of his birth are still uncertain. The first mention of his name occurs in the accounts of the church of St Maclou at Rouen in the year 1540, and in the following year he was employed at the cathedral of the same town, where he added to the tomb of Cardinal d’Amboise a statue of his nephew Georges, afterwards removed, and possibly carved portions of the tomb of Louis de Brezé, executed some time after 1545. On leaving Rouen, Goujon was employed by Pierre Lescot, the celebrated architect of the Louvre, on the restorations of St-Germain l’Auxerrois; the building accounts—some of which for the years 1542–1544 were discovered by M. de Laborde on a piece of parchment binding—specify as his work, not only the carvings of the pulpit (Louvre), but also a Notre Dame de Piété, now lost. In 1547 appeared Martin’s French translation of Vitruvius, the illustrations of which were due, the translator tells us in his “Dedication to the King,” to Goujon, “naguères architecte de Monseigneur le Connétable, et maintenant un des vôtres.” We learn from this statement not only that Goujon had been taken into the royal service on the accession of Henry II., but also that he had been previously employed under Bullant on the château of Écouen. Between 1547 and 1549 he was employed in the decoration of the Loggia ordered from Lescot for the entry of Henry II. into Paris, which took place on the 16th of June 1549. Lescot’s edifice was reconstructed at the end of the 18th century by Bernard Poyet into the Fontaine des Innocents, this being a considerable variation of the original design. At the Louvre, Goujon, under the direction of Lescot, executed the carvings of the south-west angle of the court, the reliefs of the Escalier Henri II., and the Tribune des Cariatides, for which he received 737 livres on the 5th of September 1550. Between 1548 and 1554 rose the château d’Anet, in the embellishment of which Goujon was associated with Philibert Delorme in the service of Diana of Poitiers. Unfortunately the building accounts of Anet have disappeared, but Goujon executed a vast number of other works of equal importance, destroyed or lost in the great Revolution. In 1555 his name appears again in the Louvre accounts, and continues to do so every succeeding year up to 1562, when all trace of him is lost. In the course of this year an attempt was made to turn out of the royal employment all those who were suspected of Huguenot tendencies. Goujon has always been claimed as a Reformer; it is consequently possible that he was one of the victims of this attack. We should therefore probably ascribe the work attributed to him in the Hôtel Carnavalet (in situ), together with much else executed in various parts of Paris—but now dispersed or destroyed—to a period intervening between the date of his dismissal from the Louvre and his death, which is computed to have taken place between 1564 and 1568, probably at Bologna. The researches of M. Tomaso Sandonnini (see Gazette des Beaux Arts, 2e période, vol. xxxi.) have finally disposed of the supposition, long entertained, that Goujon died during the St Bartholomew massacre in 1572.
List of authentic works of Jean Goujon: Two marble columns supporting the organ of the church of St Maclou (Rouen) on right and left of porch on entering; left-hand gate of the church of St Maclou; bas-reliefs for decoration of screen of St Germain l’Auxerrois (now in Louvre); “Victory” over chimney-piece of Salle des Gardes at Écouen; altar at Chantilly; illustrations for Jean Martin’s translation of Vitruvius; bas-reliefs and sculptural decoration of Fontaine des Innocents; bas-reliefs adorning entrance of Hôtel Carnavalet, also series of satyrs’ heads on keystones of arcade of courtyard; fountain of Diana from Anet (now in Louvre); internal decoration of chapel at Anet; portico of Anet (now in courtyard of École des Beaux Arts); bust of Diane de Poiçtiers (now at Versailles); Tribune of Caryatides in the Louvre; decoration of “Escalier Henri II.,” Louvre; œils de bœuf and decoration of Henri II. façade, Louvre; groups for pediments of façade now placed over entrance to Egyptian and Assyrian collections, Louvre.
See A. A. Pottier, Œuvres de Goujon (1844); Reginald Lister, Jean Goujon (London, 1903).