(b. ca. 1512, Sens, d. ca. 1570, Verneuil-sur-Oise)

Tomb of Francis I and Claude de France

Abbey Church, Saint-Denis

The tomb of Francis I, begun in 1547, is Philibert Delorme's solution to the problem of producing a classical version of the type of tomb invented by the Giust for Louis XII. It is in general design a Roman triumphal arch with the side arches set back from the plane of the principal front. The use of coloured marbles is skilful and the decorative detail, for much of which Pierre Bontemps seems to have been responsible, is superb. To a pupil of Bramante it would have seemed overloaded, but Delorme shows astonishing skill in making a coherent whole out of such a mass of detail.

Documents prove that Bontemps was responsible for the greater part of the work on the gisants, and executed the whole of the bas-reliefs round the base of the tomb, the contracts for which date from 1551 and 1552.

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