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

Two Nymphs Carrying a Third

c. 1547
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, 232 x 279 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Invited by the French king Francis I (r. 1515–47) along with another Italian artist, Rosso Fiorentino, Primaticcio oversaw the decoration of the royal château of Fontainebleau, created decorative cycles in the Mannerist style, and became the leading proponent of the so-called School of Fontainebleau. The present scene, depicting two nymphs carrying a third to a satyr (partly visible at the left margin) relates to Primaticcio's stucco decoration of the Appartement des Bains at Fontainebleau, rooms intended for bathing, relaxation, and the display of famous works from the royal collection.

The outlines of the composition have been traced with a stylus to transfer the design to an engraver's plate. The black chalk shading probably was added by a later hand.