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3 Tutorials that teach The Northern Renaissance in France
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The Northern Renaissance in France

The Northern Renaissance in France

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explore Northern Renaissance art and architecture in France.

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Tutorial

Exploring the Northern Renaissance in France.

Video Transcription

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello, I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History With Ian. My name is Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about the Northern Renaissance in France. As you're watching the video feel free to pause, move forward, or rewind as often as you feel is necessary. As soon as you're ready we can begin.

Today's objectives, or the things you are going to learn today, are listed below. By the end the lesson today you'll be able to identify and define today's key terms, explain the influence of the Italian Renaissance and mannerism on the architecture and art of France during the 16th century, and identify examples of art work in architecture from this period of time.

The key terms, as always, are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. And the only key term today is chateau, a castle or fortress and the residence or country home nobility especially in France.

The big idea for today, is that French art and architecture of the 16th century was highly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and mannerism, and the availability of Italian artists.

We'll be looking at the time period from 1515 to 1547 today, which is the reign of King Francis the first of France.

The architecture that we're looking at today comes from France, three different places in France to be exact, Fontainebleau Estate, Chambord, and Paris.

So France the first was a great lover of and patron to the arts and architecture. His reign of over 30 years was quite eventful. France had gained considerable territories during and following the Hundred Years' War with England, which preceded his reign by about 70 years. And it established the vast majority of the modern day shape of France as we know it today. Now the increase of French power was influential on secular arts following French Gothic and architecture in France. It was an extravagance and glorification of the ruler's authority that would continue until the French Revolution of the 18th century.

Now this portrait by the French artist, Jean Clouet, exemplifies the elegance, decadence, and depiction of authority favored by Francis the first. The portrait of Francis exceeds the borders of the painting. His puffy sleeves and elaborately detailed clothing accentuate the proportions of his body in relation to his head. His face and neck are flat, by comparison and characterized by an overall lack of modeling a form. The smaller head on the body emphasizes the expensive and elaborate clothing creating an overall regal aesthetic and formal quality to the painting.

The royal aesthetic carried over to architecture as well. The mannerism in Italy, in particular, was very influential on the architecture of the time. The palace at Fontainebleau is an example of the combination of aspects of the Italian palazzo with that of the French Gothic. Now the French royal residences of this time changed the overall appearance of what a royal residence looked like. As opposed to the reinforced fortress-like castle of Medieval times the new aesthetic favored the refined quality of the Italian palazzo creating a distinctly French form of the palazzo called the chateau.

Now the interior was designed by two Italians and evokes the essence of the mannerist style favored by the French court the time. The use of painted and gilded stucco elements made its first appearance in French architecture at Fontainebleau, and were designed by Rosso Fiorentino. Now they were common but elaborate design elements that occurred later during the Baroque and Rococo periods.

Now the statues are also elongated in the mannerist style. And call forth the paintings of artists like Parmigianino's Madonna with the long neck.

Chateau de Chambord is another example of the French aesthetic that combines elements of the Italian palazzo with that of the French Gothic. The exterior of the Chateau is perhaps the most glaring example of this blending. The lower portion evokes the sense of order, horizontal emphasis and logical placement of elements like, the aligned windows one would see in an Italian Renaissance era palazzo. The upper region though with its Gothic-style heavy lanterns and spindles evokes the verticality expressed so vividly in the French Gothic cathedrals from centuries past.

Our final example brings us to Paris and is one of the best examples of 16th century French style in architecture. The sacking, again, of Rome in 1527 made available a large number of talented artists who were happily welcomed into the service of the French King. Now one of them, the artist Leonardo da Vinci, brought with him a number of works of art, most notably the Mona Lisa. And when he died in 1519 he left behind this famous painting, among others, which is now housed in The Louvre in Paris.

And although now it's a museum The Louvre began its life as a royal residence. And Francis the first began this renovation project to expand the facility as well as update it aesthetically. Now the west facade of the square court at The Louvre clearly depicts the strong influence of the Italian Renaissance design with an emphasis on the horizontal. Now in a similar fashion to the palazzo Medici, it's comprised of three horizontal bands, each varying in its application of design elements.

Yet somehow it maintains a cohesive sense of overall form. The bottom is composed of a series of rounded recessed Roman arches forming an arcade that creates a sense of solidity to the foundation. Now the mid-level windows are separated by pilasters-- which are the flat decorative column looking elements-- with every window alternating with either a rounded or a triangular pediment at its top. The upper level is the most decorative. And coupled with the smaller windows creates a sense of lightness that contrasts with a more robust looking structure at the base.

Now northern European elements are intermixed, however, in the protruding pavilions and with the steeply slanted roofs which was a functional design element. After all, the steep roofs are much better at dealing with snow and rainfall.

So that brings us to the end of this lesson. Let's take a look at our objectives to see how we did. Now that you've seen the lesson are you able to identify and define today's key terms, explain the influence of the Italian Renaissance and mannerism on the architecture and art of France during the 16th century, and identify examples of artwork architecture from this period of time?

And, once again, the big idea for today is that the French art and architecture of the 16th century was highly influenced by the Italian Renaissance and mannerism, and the availability of Italian artists.

And that's it. Thank you very much for joining me today. I'll see you next time.

Notes on "The Northern Renaissance in France"

Key Terms

Chateau

A castle or fortress and the residence or country home of nobility, especially in France.


Citations

Francis I; Public Domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jean_Clouet_001.jpg Image of Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio, Gallery of Francis I, Fontainebleau, Public Domain, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fontainebleau_034.jpg; Chateau de Chambord; Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:France_Loir-et-Cher_Chambord_Chateau_03.jpg Chateau de Chambord; Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chambord_castle,_aerial_view.jpg Square Court; Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Louvre_FranzI.JPG; Image of France Map Creative Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:France_location_map-Regions_and_departements.svg; Image of Madonna Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parmigianino_-_Madonna_dal_collo_lungo_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg; Image of Fontainebleau Creative Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zijvleugel.jpg; Image of Gallery Public Domain http://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:Fontainebleau_interior_francois_I_gallery_03.JP

 

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Chateau

    A castle or fortress and the residence or country home of nobility, especially in France.