Portrait of François 1st

Portrait of Francis I - château de Fontainebleau - © RMN Grand Palais

The Workshop of Joos Van Cleve (1480 or 1490 (ca.) – 1540 or 1541)
19th Century
H. 102 cm; L. 76.5 cm
Oil on wood applied to the canvas
Château de Fontainebleau, Inv 3257
Gallery of Splendours.

The life-size painting of the king who is holding a pair of gloves in one hand, while the other hand is resting on the handle of his sword He is wearing a rich silver embroidered doublet and is covered with a black velvet coat trimmed with gold beads and lined with sable fur, Each hair is painted with great attention to detail. On her head is a velvet toque decorated with a appliqué hat representing the bust of Lucretia. The portrait was originally painted by the Flemish artist Joos van Cleve, who was invited by François Ier to the French court between 1530 et 1535. The artist delivered several portraits of court figures during this trip, including King and Queen Eleanor, as well as a portrait of King Henry VIII of England. Numerous versions of this painting are known (notably at the Carnavalet Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art). In accordance with the Flemish style, the portrait of the king is not idealized. You can easily make out his features, the first signs of ageing and the long nose of the Valois. The three-quarter format and the meticulous detail of the costumes are also characteristic of Nordic art. François Ist was an major collector of Italian painting and the vast majority of his collection was kept at Fontainebleau. However, he did not neglect Flemish art, as this prestigious commission shows.

1998, Château de Fontainebleau, Painters For a Castle. Fiftieth Wok(16th Century – 19th century) from the collections at the Château de Fontainebleau.

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