National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 26, 1975

Annual Index
Author & Subject

The Monumental Style of Fontainebleau and 
its Consequences: Antoine Caron and
"The Submission of Milan"

By W. McAllister Johnson

Pages  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  


1 PROVENANCE: Bonham's, London (sale 4 December 1969), no. 4, as Francken; David Carritt, London; acquired 1972 (17113). BIBLIOGRAPHY: L'École de Fontainebleau (Grand-Palais, Paris, 17 October 1972-15 January 1973), cat. 36; Fontainebleau: Art in France, 1528-1610 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, l March-15 April 1973), p. 34, cat. B (the corresponding drawing, p. 36, cat. C).

2 Even for transplanted Italians, the Fontainebleau style was peculiarly French: "Ma o voi Architettori fondati sopra la dottrina di Vitruvio (laquale sommamente io lodo, & dalla quale io non intendo allontanarrni molto) habbiaterni per iscusato di tanti ornamenti, di tante riquadrature, di tanti cartocci, volute & de tanti superflui, & habbiate riguardo al paese, doue io sono, supplendo voi doue io haverà mancato"(Serlio, Libro VI, in Tutte l'Opere d'Architettura [Venice, 1619] ).

3 See James S. Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo (London: Zwemmer, 1961), vol. I, pp. 54-74.

4 Uniquely documented in all respects, an exhaustive sourcebook is now available as La Galerie François Ier au château de Fontainebleau, in Revue de l'Art, nos 16 / 17 (1972).

5. Ibid., pp. 165-167 for the paintings (not frescoes, it seems) inserted into the stucco surrounds at the eastern and western ends of the Gallery. These, with the contrasting recumbant ovals in the midst of the north and south walls, divided the system into quadrants.

6 Henri Zerner, École de Fontainebleau. Gravures (Paris: Arts & Métiers Graphiques, 1969) gives the ornamental repertory of all but the anonymous print-makers.

7 For the most recent survey, see Victor E. Graham and W. McAllister Johnson, Estienne Jodelle. Le Recueil des inscriptions 1558 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972), pp. 35-41.

8 Bibliothèque Nationale. Département des Estampes. Inventaire du.fonds français. Graveurs du XVIe siècle, l (Paris, 1930), p. 504; cf. Andrée Jouan, "Thomas de Leu et le portrait français de la fin du XVIe siècle," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, s. 6, LVIII (October 1961), pp. 203-222 for the issuance of engraved portraits en série and their rapid commercial displacement of paintings.

9 For instance, in the Battle of Marignano, Francis is depicted sleeping on a gun carriage and being offered a helmet with water to drink "à soulever le coeur."

10 See Anne-Marie Lecoq, "La Salamandre royale dans les entrées de François Ier," in Les Fêtes de la Renaissance, vol. III, ed. by J. Jacquot and E. Konigson (Paris: C. N. R. S., 1975), pp. 93-104.

11 For the distinction of the functions of allegory, history, and myth in drawings and engravings derived from the Francis I Gallery, see La Galerie François Ier, pp. 154-156 (see note 4).

12 Beyond the official chronicles, one may cite among contemporary sources the Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris sous le règne de François Ier 1513-1536, ed. by L. Lalanne (Paris, 1854), pp. 23-28; and P. de Vaissière, "Une correspondence de famille au commencement du XVIe siècle. Lettres de la maison d'Aumont 1515-1527," Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de France, XLVI (1909), pp. 249-253.

13 The old label with its attribution to Sebastian Vrancx gives proof of the "convertibility" of the scene, made without any prior knowledge of the antecedents of the Ottawa panel in the Histoire françoyse. I owe the kindness of Louise d'Argencourt, of the National Gallery of Canada, the deciphering which follows: 

Charles VIII Roi de France
avant de faire son entrée à Rome, reçoit l'aide de
...d'un prince d'Italie[?] qui à genoux vient.....

14 Emblematum liber (Augsburg, 1531), fols A2r-v.

15 "L'École de Fontainebleau: The Paintings," La chronique des arts, suppl. to the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, no. 1248 (January 1973), p. 43, n. 4.

16 See also Walter J. Ong, "From Allegory to Diagram in the Renaissance Mind: A Study in the Significance of the Allegorical Tableau," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XVII (June 1959), pp. 423-440.

17 W. McAllister Johnson, "Pour une iconographie de l'École de Fontainebleau," Nouvelles de l'Estampe, no. 17 (September-October 1974), pp. 27-32 for detailed considerations of this room in respect of the interpenetration of the works of Giulio Romano, Rosso Fiorentino, and Francesco Primaticcio against the background of Michelangelo's Sistina. (See also Sven Sandstrom, Levels of Unreality [Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1963], pp. 173-191.)

18 This facility regularly depended upon the Royal Collections or Works for inspiration; see Geneviève Monnier and W. McAllister Johnson, "Caron 'antiquaire': à propos de quelques dessins du Louvre," Revue de l'Art, no. 14 (1971), pp. 23-30.

19 Bertrand Jestaz, "La Tenture de la Galerie de Fontainebleau et sa restauration à Vienne à la fin du XVIIe siècle," Revue de l'Art, no. 22 (1975), pp. 50-56. Two somewhat related decorative traditions at work at the early years of Fontainebleau (Michelangelo through Rosso, and Giulio Romano and Parmigianino through Primaticcio) are the essential dispositions of the long gallery and the squarish chamber. In this light the reader should consider figs 10-15, taking care to restore the beamed ceilings of the Sala di Costantino and the Chambre d'Alexandre so as to judge the ordonnance and the differences in material rendering.

20 See L. Dimier in the Bulletin de la Société Nationale des Antiquaires de France (1934), pp. 88-92 for events from the life of the Cardinal de Lorraine at Meudon, ascribed to Georges Boba. Moreover, the second half of the century witnessed the creation of large tapestry cycles which renewed the medium by their insistence upon precise historical focus. It is most unfortunate that the dating of the Histoire françoyse from which the Ottawa painting is derived can only be assimilated to that of the Histoire d'Arthémise (i.e., after 1562). An active artistic intelligence with a Florentine orientation was maintained with the French court as a result of Francis l and his daughter-in-law Catherine de' Medici. It might be noteworthy that a series of tapestries commemorating her family was being woven between 1557-1571: D. Heikamp, "Giovanni Stradanos Bildteppiche für den Palazzo Vecchio mit Darstellungen aus dem Leben der iilteren Medici," Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, XIV (1970), pp. 183-200.

21 P. Lelièvre, " Mécènes et collectionneurs au XVIe siècle," Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art français (1971), pp. 8-10 for the disposition of the Constable Anne de Montmorency's gallery in the Hôtel Saint-Avoy in Paris according to the sequence of the inventory of 1568.

Top of this page

Home | Français | Introduction | History
Annual Index | Author & Subject | Credits | Contact

This digital collection was produced under contract to Canada's Digital Collections program, Industry Canada.

"Digital Collections Program, Copyright © National Gallery of Canada 2001"