Themes
Warriors and Builders
cosmographia

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Sebastian Münster
Swiss, 1488–1552
Cosmographia
Basel, 1628

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

 

This large Weltkronik, a kind of chronological encyclopedia, contains a series of portraits of the Kings of France: here François I, Henri II, François II, Charles IX, Henry III, and Henry IV, are presented, that is, covering the period 1515-1628.

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boyvin

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René Boyvin
French, 1525–1598(?)
after Enea Vico
Italian, 1523–1567
Six Shields, One with Elephant, from Trophées d’armes
(Trophies of Arms
), 1575
Engraving
Collection of Laurent Ferri

 

René Boyvin, along with his teacher, Pierre Milan, was responsible for the development of a clear and compelling engraving technique that became dominant in Paris for the dissemination of court imagery in the form of prints of royal decorations and designs for lavish furnishings for the king’s table. This print shows Boyvin’s knowledge of the work of prolific Italian engraver Enea Vico, and he copies Vico’s design faithfully in reverse while lending the arms and armor in Vico’s print an even greater metallic hardness and clarity characteristic of Boyvin’s style.

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paradin

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Claude Paradin
French, ca. 1510–1573
Devises héroïques, Lyon, 1551
Second edition of 1557
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

Claude Paradin spent his adult life as canon of Beaujeu, near Lyon. In addition to the book of emblems on display here, his literary output comprises two other works, also printed in Lyons by Jean de Tournes: the Quadrins historiques de la Bible (1553) and Alliances généalogiques des rois et princes de Gaule (1561).

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koepping

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Karl Koepping
German, 1848–1914 [after Titian]
Portrait of François I, 1881
Etching
Private collection

 

Titian’s 1538 canvas, after which this print was made, was conceived as a gift from the Italian writer and impresario Pietro Aretino as a means to gain François’s favor and to set himself up as the king’s agent for buying Italian art. Showing François turned in profile to the right, accentuating his famous long nose, this portrait was remarked upon at the time as best capturing the ebullient spirit of the French monarch.

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debeze

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Théodore de Bèze
French, 1519–1605
Portrait of Marguerite de Valois, in Les vrais portraits des hommes illustres
(The True Portraits of Famous Men)
, 1557
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

 

Marguerite de Valois (1492–1549) is commonly known as Marguerite de Navarre for her later marriage to Henri d’Albret, King of Navarre. Two years older than her illustrious brother, King François I, Marguerite was in many ways just as important a patron of the arts and letters.

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mieusement

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Séraphin-Médéric Mieusement
French, 1840–1905
Le Château de Chambord, in Chambord
Third edition of 1875
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

 

Among the largest and most spectacular Renaissance castles of the Loire Valley is Chambord (1515-1547). Blending traditional French medieval forms with classical Italian structures, it was built to serve only as a hunting lodge for François I, who maintained his main residences at Blois and Amboise. The original design is usually attributed to Domenico da Cortona, though some authors claim that Philibert Delorme, or even Leonardo da Vinci, had a considerable role in Chambord’s conception.

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madrid

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Jacques Androuet du Cerceau
French, ca. 1515–after 1584
Le Château de Boulogne, called “Madrid” in Les Plus Excellents Bastiments
de France (The Most Excellent Buildings of France),
Paris, 1576–79
Etching
Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

 

Relatively little is known about the architect, designer, draftsman, etcher Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, but his brilliantly illustrated publications recording important examples of French Renaissance architecture are a tremendously important resource. The greatest among these publications is the two-volume Les Plus Excellents Bastiments, which was one of the first books on architecture to be illustrated with etchings rather than woodcuts—which allowed much greater detail to be shown.

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boissieu

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Jean-Jacques de Boissieu
French, 1736–1810
View of the Château de Madrid
Etching
Bequest of Charles Farrell

 

The Château de Madrid, the first and most decoratively innovative of François’s many palaces, was actually very seldom occupied by the monarch himself, or even by his son Henri II. Only Charles IX, François’s grandson, took up residence there several times during the 1560s and 1570s. After a period of use during the reign of Louis XIII, who was passionate about hunting, the château appears to have been given up as a strictly royal residence.

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fontainebleau

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Jacques Androuet du Cerceau
French, ca. 1515–after 1584
The Château of Fontainebleau in Les Plus Excellents Bastiments de
France,
Paris, 1576
Etching
Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

 

Of the many residences he occupied during his peripatetic rule, the château of Fontainebleau held a special significance for François I (1494–1547); as Du Cerceau relates, when François traveled to Fontainebleau, “he used to say that he was going home [il disoit qu’il alloit chez soy].” The expense and care that François lavished on Fontainebleau, including the importation of Italian painters and sculptors for its decoration, made it the epitome of splendor at the French court during his reign.

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venus

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Unidentified artist
French, 16th century
after Léon Davent
French, active ca. 1540–1560
Venus and Cupid
Pallas Athena
Juno
Engravings
Membership Purchase Fund

 

These three engravings are copies of etchings made by Léon Davent, in turn after designs by Francesco Primaticcio, one of François I’s court artists at Fontainebleau. Part of a series of twelve prints depicting the nine muses and the three major female Olympian goddesses, these designs were probably intended for the decoration of the Appartement des Bains, the royal bath chambers, a series of rooms which ran directly beneath the frescoed Gallery of François I in the royal palace at Fontainebleau. It is likely that this series of pictures of reclining women, some quite scantily clad, were considered appropriate for the sensuous atmosphere of the baths.

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besson

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Design of a Royal Carriage for Charles IX, in Jacques Besson, Théâtre des Instrumens Mathematiques et Mécaniques
Lyon: Barthélémy Vincent, second edition of 1578, amplified by François Béroald, with plates engraved by René Boyvin and Jacques Androuet du Cerceau.

History of Science Collection, Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collections, Cornell University Library

 

Jacques Besson (c. 1540 - 1573) was a “docte mathématicien” and engineer who gained early fame by providing the town of Lausanne, Switzerland, with an ingenious pump for public fountains, and from his invention at age 26 of the cosmolabe, an elaborate instrument that could be used for navigation, surveying, cartography, and astronomy.

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