Reference Entry

Limosin, Léonard

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI:
Limosin, Léonard

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  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)


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French, 16th century, male.

Born c. 1505, in Limoges; died between January 1575 and February 1577.

Enameller, draughtsman, engraver.

Fontainebleau School.

Léonard Limosin was the son of the broker and inn-keeper François Limosin. Little is known about his early career, though he is believed to have been the pupil of Nardon Penicaud. Some biographers claim that he came to Fontainebleau in 1528, although the School later set up there by Rosso and Primaticcio did not yet exist. In fact, the earliest known works by Limosin betray a German influence. Painter to the king from 1530, he seems to have received little or no money from François I, concentrating instead on executing a large number of enamels for various churches. His mature talent had not at this time fully developed. In 1532 he made the earliest of his signed works: 18 plaques taken from Albrecht Dürer's Passion series. A skilled draughtsman, he made copies in enamel of prints by the 'Master of the Dice' as well as a series of grisaille pieces depicting the story of Psyche after Raphael. In 1537 he produced a number of beautiful cups and chessboards now in the Louvre and considered to be masterpieces of their kind. In 1541 he was living in Limoges with his brother Martin and enjoying considerable fame. His portraits were particularly appreciated and, in 1544, he painted that of Queen Claude of France, wife of François I, as well as those of almost all the notables of the time. At this period he also turned to engraving, although the lack of colour in this medium was less well suited to his talents. In 1545 the painter Michel Rochetel provided him with some drawings for a series depicting the twelve apostles for the Château at Anet. They were later moved to the church of the St-Père in Chartres. He made several copies of this series, two pieces of which are today in the Louvre. While decorating the Château at Anet, they must have attracted the attention of the king's mistress Diane de Poitiers who was living there, for not long after that Léonard was commissioned to make a portrait of the royal favourite. She is depicted in what has been described as Limosin's masterpiece riding pillion behind Henri II. He made many works, and copies of these works, based on the story of Diana. In 1548, he was appointed to the position of ...

Reference Entry.  1626 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; Professional Interior Design ; Prints and Printmaking ; 17th-Century Art ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)

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