When it comes to seventeenth-century French culture and politics, the Louvre is always a good starting point – a much less noticed part of the Louvre than the Mona Lisa or the spectacular glass pyramid in the courtyard, that is: an elegant row of double columns at the eastern end called the ‘colonnade’. When the Louvre was built, architecture did not know such rows of double columns, and in the eyes of many seventeenth-century beholders, the slender structures may well have ‘flirted with precariousness’.1 The evenly spaced regularity that characterizes classicist architecture is here disrupted and accentuated at the same time by a fragile arrangement that allows the spaces between the individual columns to contract and expand, as if a rippling movement had pushed them against each other.