FRANCÉS, Nicolás
(active 1424-1468 in León)


In León, the International Gothic style was first introduced by a painter of great refinement, whose French origin is reflected in his name, Nicolás Francés. He was already living in León during the episcopate of Alfonso de Cusanza (1424-1437). In the Cathedral records he is described as an artist in stained glass, though he is also the author of the great retable, executed in 1434. Francés painted extensively and well. His work includes the mural decorations in the cloister and two compositions in the ambulatory of León cathedral, together with various paintings on wood. His style appears to derive from that of the Paris school of the first quarter of the fifteenth century. In particular, he possesses the same same subtlety of tone, the same grace in arranging the elements of his composition against a landscape background, and the same neatness of detail, but above all the same harmony of color. Until his death in 1468, he was for thirty years the foremost painter of the school of León.