MILAN, Pierre
(active 1545-1557 in Paris)

Nymph of Fontainebleau

Engraving, 305 x 510 mm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

This engraving was made after a design by Rosso Fiorentino. Although produced in Paris, it emblematises much of the style and spirit of Fontainebleau. The elaborate framework, composed of animated caryatids intertwined with thick leather strapwork and pendulous garlands of fruit — and further enlivened by infant musicians and peculiar-looking dogs — is characteristic of the decoration of the Gallery of Francis I, and indeed reproduces with minor variations a frame that can still be seen in the Gallery.

This print was begun by the skilled Parisian engraver Pierre Milan, one of the first artists to reproduce Rosso's designs for the palace. Left incomplete for several years, it was finally finished by René Boyvin, who had earlier worked as an assistant to Milan. The styles of the two artists are so close that it is impossible to distinguish the hands. Both used a crisp and precise engraved line that is perfectly suited to this decorative subject, in which even the grasses and the water take on the quality of ornamental metalwork.