The Submission of Milan to Francis I, c. 1570
Antoine Caron, Workshop of
oil on oak
50.5 x 66.8 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17113)
Caron's work reflects Court taste: complex, elegant, and indebted to contemporary Italian art. The painting reproduces a drawing commissioned by the humanist Nicolas Houel, part of a set illustrating recent French history. Taking inspiration from the elaborate mural decoration at the royal palace of Fontainebleau, Caron conceived the picture and its fictive frame as a unity. The small images amplify the central scene, showing other moments in the war. These are surrounded by sculpted allegories of Fame, Abundance, etc. The complex whole enriches the historical event, similar to contemporary rhetoric, which sought to transcend a merely factual account.