Studies in the Décor at the Château de Fontainebleau

Study based on the décor of the Louis XIII salon - Château de Fontainebleau
Study based on the décor of the Louis XIII salon - château de Fontainebleau - © RMN Grand Palais

Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)
1841-1846
Ink, Pencil and Wash on Paper
H. 46.4 ;L. 25.7 cm
Fontainebleau, Musée National du Château, F-1993.4

This drawing is heightened by its watercolour and shows how important Fontainebleau's décor was for Eugene Delacroix. He visited the castle many times in the year 1830, then 1841 and 1846. This work brings together three eras of the Château de Fontainebleau. Firstly, François Ist: on the right, Delacroix reproduces two ornaments taken from the décor of the famous Rosso gallery.

You can recognise the crescent moon of the ‘L’Incendie de Catane’ and the Putti musicians standing against an oval medallion below the fresco of the Sacrifice. Next to these ornaments is a perspective view of the beamed ceiling and joists belonging to the Theagenes and Chariclea Cabinet painted in the reign of Henry IV. Delacroix imitates the beam’s painted design by Ambroise Dubois and Jean d'Hoey. This style gave a Flemish influenced nuance to the ornamental repertoire of the First School of Fontainebleau. In portrait, Delacroix copied a panel of panelling from Anne of Austria's room in the Papal Apartment. This priceless piece of arabesques and scroll work was designed by Charles Errard between 1655 and 1660. So the Romantic artist's curiosity for the Château de Fontainebleau spanned from the first Renaissance décor to the works of the Grand Siècle. The date written on the picture was ‘Sunday 28th March’ and indicates a visit that took place in either in 1841 or 1846 when the painter was commissioned to decorate the ceilings of the Palais-Bourbon and Luxembourg libraries. The use of Bellifontaine skies with their profusion of elaborate scroll work was undoubtedly an important source of inspiration for these commissions.

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2018-2019, Château de Fontainebleau, Louis-Philippe à Fontainebleau. The King and History.

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