François Ier style

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[François Premier style; Francis I style; Fr. Style François Ier].

Term used to describe the architecture and sculpture of the first phase of the French Renaissance, which coincided with the late rule of Louis XII and the early rule of Francis I (1515–c. 1530; see Valois, (8)). The style was revived in the 19th century for architecture and the decorative arts. In architecture it is a hybrid style characterized by an overlay of imperfectly understood Italian ornamentation on traditional Gothic forms. An important early example is the château of Gaillon (1508–10) built by Cardinal Georges I d’Amboise (see Amboise, d’, (1)); others, built mainly for courtiers and patricians, are the châteaux (or parts of them) at Oiron, Vendeuvre, Chenonceaux, Bury, Azay-le-rideau and elsewhere. These works feature an adoption of the decorative vocabulary of Milanese Quattrocento architecture, an ornamented mode of pilasters, medallions and grotesques, to which French architects trained in the Flamboyant style readily responded. This style was continued in Francis I's châteaux in the Loire valley, such as Blois, where the wing that bears his name (1515–24) has novel Renaissance-style elements: a monumental staircase and double-tiered loggias based on the one by Donato Bramante (?1443/4–1514) at the Vatican. Chambord (1519–50) has a more Italianate character and monumentality, but its roof has turrets, chimneys and dormers of differing designs in the spirit of Flamboyant style but adorned with Italian architectural motifs. In sculpture the François Ier style was also a highly ornamented hybrid style, exemplified by Girolamo Viscardi's sculptures at the abbey church of La Trinité Fécamp Abbey (1507–8), which is Late Gothic in structure but Italianate in its carved decoration. Major tombs in this style are the tomb of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany (1516–31) by Antoine Giusti (1479–1519) and Jean Giusti (1485–1549) in Saint-Denis Abbey, where the disposition of the elements, with the kneeling king and queen above and the gisants in an arcaded enclosure, follows tradition, but the tomb's Virtues and Apostles show Florentine influence; and the tomb of Georges I d’Amboise and Georges II d’Amboise (begun 1515; Rouen Cathedral) by Roulland Le Roux (see Le roux, (2)), whose abundant ornamentation and mixture of modes epitomizes the François Ier style.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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