(b. 1504, Bologna, d. 1570, Paris)


Primaticcio was the head of the First School of Fontainebleau, and a universal impresario - painter, sculptor, architect, interior decorator. He learned these arts under Giulio Romano in the Palazzo del Tè at Mantua, from 1525/6 until 1532, when he was summoned to France by François I and began to work at Fontainebleau, where he met Rosso. From 1540 until 1542 he was in Rome buying for François, and on his return he found that Rosso was dead and Cellini had arrived (Cellini later threatened to kill him 'like a dog'). With Niccolò dell'Abbate he worked on the (lost) decorations of the Galérie d'Ulysse at Fontainebleau, and in 1546 he was again in Rome to get casts made, including Michelangelo's Pietà in St Peter's, while in 1563 he revisited Bologna, his native town, and met Vasari there.

There are works by him in Barnard Castle (Bowes Museum), Bologna, Chantilly, Florence (Uffizi), Glasgow, Montpellier, Paris (Louvre and Cluny Museum), Pittsburgh, and Toledo Ohio, but his main contribution is the combination of painted and high relief stucco decoration evolved at Fontainebleau and still partially preserved there.

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