Allegory of the Renaissance

Allegory of the Renaissance - château de Fontainebleau - © RMN Grand Palais
Charles Landelle (1821-1908)
H. 264 cm;L. 198 cm

Oil on canvas

Château de Fontainebleau, INV 5614


A history painter, friend of Gérard de Nerval and Théophile Gautier and a great lover of the Italian masters that he copied in the Louvre, Landelle executed numerous official commissions under the July Monarchy and then the Second French Empire. He was commissioned to paint this work in 1848 to decorate the walls of the Salle des Bijoux in the Palais du Louvre. While the taste for ‘history’ was at its peak, he painted an inventory of the treasures of the Renaissance here: the female figure with a curvilinear silhouette, coiffed in the 16th century style, points to a sculpted cartouche with Fontainebleau-style accents on which are inscribed the names of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Palissy and Primaticcio. If the Italian painters are honoured in this painting through Titian’s Francis I in the medallion and the angels inspired by Raphael, France is present through the ceramics. At the feet of the figure, an enamelled cup in grisaille and gold recalls the creations of Léonard Limosin and the taste for this type of object from the 1820s onwards. On the right, the richly decorated ewer in the foreground evokes the 17th-century Italianate earthenware of Nevers and, in particular, a monumental pair of dragon-handled ewers held in the Louvre Museum. Incidentally, it is on the belly of this ewer that the painter chose to place his signature in 1853.  

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