Interior of the Château of Azay-le-Rideau
The interior of the Château of Azay-le-Rideau remains that of a French Renaissance château with Italian inspiration. The staircase presents, on the inside, a rich sculpted decor, Antique-style medallions, and coffered ceilings decorated with floral sculptures. On the walls of the rooms, there are 16th and 17th century tapestries on which there are scenes from the Old Testament, woven in Audenarde and Anvers, hunting scenes from the Beauvais mill, and episodes from the story of Renaud and Armide made from sketches by Simon Vouet at the mill in Faubourg Saint-Marcel, Paris.
The furniture and the decor are equally rich with magnificent pieces of furniture and paintings in all of the rooms, among which are numerous royal portraits.
The apartments over the centuries
Inside, there are 16th century rooms, the royal apartment, and drawing-rooms that were decorated in the 19th century in Neo-Renaissance style.
On the first floor, the royal apartment where Louis XIII stayed in 1619 is composed of an anti-chamber and a bedchamber. On the anti-chamber walls, covered with red and gold cloth, are portraits of the kings of France (François I, Henri III, and Louis XIII). The bedchamber is decorated with tapestries which tell the story of Renaud and Armide. There is also a darkened pear-wood cabinet with scenes from the 30 Years’ War illustrated with ivory inlays.
During the 16th century, the Great Hall (located on the first floor) was the place where festivities and receptions took place. Decorated with a French-style ceiling with beams, coffers and mouldings, the walls are hung with 17th century tapestries that illustrate scenes from the Old Testament.
The blue room, known as the "Psyché Room," has four tapestries representing episodes in the story of Psyché and Cupidon. Woven in the 17th century in Brussels, they belonged to an original 17-piece tapestry that had been ordered by a wealthy Italian merchant. The presence of this type of decoration illustrates the taste for antique culture and mythology during the Renaissance.
The 16th century bedchamber has furniture typical of places intended for private use during the Renaissance: a bed, a dresser, and a high-back chair. The room next door, situated in the small turret, could be used as an oratory, study, or wardrobe.
The ground floor was altered by the marquis of Biencourt.
The library, the walls of which are covered in wood paneling and printed fabric with Neo-Renaissance foliage design, has a painted fireplace and chimney bearing the Biencourt coat of arms. A collection of engravings and maps show the transformations that have taken place on the facades in the court of honor, and the design of the park.
The huge kitchen, arched with intersecting ribs, had its floor raised in the 19th century when the ground-floor was altered. The well and the water-evacuation system date back to the 16th century. The fireplace is decorated with the coat of arms of Gilles Berthelot.
The large drawing-room that leads on from the billiard room has furniture which clearly illustrates the way of life in the 19th century. The Renaissance is ever present in the paintings, among which are several royal portraits (the family of Charles Quint, Henri II and Catherine de’ Medici). The ‘Lady in a Bath,’ a copy of the famous painting by François Clouet, portrait artist for François I, supposedly represents Diane de Poitiers. And finally, the monumental fireplace with the salamander carved in its center and decorated in typical Renaissance sculpted decorations. On the windows, stained glass gives an additional touch to the finery of the site.
….and many others.
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