The French Renaissance blossomed during the reign of King Francis I (r. 1515–47), known as the “prince of arts and letters.” Inspired by the opulence of Italian High Renaissance art, Francis attracted Italian artists to his court to decorate his château at Fontainebleau, which became a major artistic center. Everything at Fontainebleau, from the architecture to the tableware, was meant to display the sophistication and taste—and thus the power and prestige—of the king. Other nobility followed the king’s lead, seeking out the best artists to portray their likenesses and decorate their own castles. Through a selection of sculptures, prints, paintings, enamels, ceramics, and medals, this exhibition explores the relationship between art and power in 16th-century France. Together, the artworks reflect the preferences of the cultured, aristocratic figures of the day—the “goût du prince,” or “taste of the prince”—and highlight the enduring impact of such preferences on French art and culture in subsequent centuries.
Views of the Exhibition
Exhibition organized by Yale University students Cordélia de Brosses, CC ’16; Hélène Cesbron Lavau, MC ’16; and Stephanie Wisowaty, TD ’16, under the mentorship of Suzanne Boorsch, the Robert L. Solley Curator of Prints and Drawings, and Laurence Kanter, Chief Curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art. Made possible by the Jane and Gerald Katcher Fund for Education; the John F. Wieland, Jr., B.A. 1988, Fund for Student Exhibitions; and the Nolen-Bradley Family Fund for Education.