. Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

François I / Francis I

Under Francis I's patronage, Italian artists brought the Renaissance to France. For example, before 1524, decoration under Francis I included walls that were completely free of decoration because they were habitually covered by tapestries. Unlike tapestries, the frescoes introduced by the Italians were permanent

It is important to note that the artistic work at Fontainebleau was not simply an slavish imitation of Italian Renaissance - creativity flourished.

King Francis I was raised at Amboise, which belonged to his mother, Louise of Savoy, and during the first few years of his reign the château reached the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of the King, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, connected to the château by an underground passage. Leonardo lived there until his death three years later.

One innovation at Fontainebleau was that the Italians combined two of their habitual forms of decoration - the gallery decorated with frescoes and the wood-paneled studioli (small studios) - to create a type of decoration unknown in Italy.

Another innovation: the technique of stone sculptures, so familiar to French artists, was replaced by the use of a new, typically Italian material, stucco. (The first stucco creations were by Raphael in the galleries of the Vatican in Rome.) The use of garland of fruits and vegetables was borrowed from the Della Robbias' glazed terra cottas. Instead of terra cotta, however, surrounding the frescoes were stucco high-relief figures and decorative motifs of scrolled cartouches and garlands of fruit.


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