MASTER of the Fontainebleau School
(second half of the 16th century)


"Master of the Fontainebleau School" denotes a French or Italian artist belonging to the School of Fontainebleau (École de Fontainebleau).

"School of Fontainebleau" refers to two periods of artistic production in France during the late Renaissance centred around the royal Château de Fontainebleau, that were crucial in forming the French version of Northern Mannerism. The style of the "first school of Fontainebleau" was evolved by Italian artists Niccolò dell'Abbate, Primaticcio and Rosso, who worked for Francis I from 1530 to 1560.

The works of this first school are characterized by the extensive use of stucco (moldings and picture frames) and frescos, and an elaborate (and often mysterious) system of allegories and mythological iconography. Renaissance decorative motifs such as grotesques, strapwork and putti are common, as well as a certain degree of eroticism. The figures are elegant and show the influence of the techniques of the Italian Mannerism of Michelangelo, Raphael and especially Parmigianino.

The works of the Flemish born Ambroise Dubois from Antwerp (1543-1614) and the Parisians Toussaint Dubreuil and Martin Fréminet (1567-1619) are sometimes referred to as the "second school of Fontainebleau". Their late Mannerist works, many of which have been lost, continue in the use of elongated and undulating forms and crowded compositions.