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

Tomb of Francis I and Claude de France (detail)

1549-59
Marble
Abbey Church, Saint-Denis

The detail represents the praying Claude de France.

The tomb of Francis I and Claude, daughter of Louis XII of France, is the most important 16th-century French funerary monument. The architect Delorme designed the tomb; from 1549 onwards, a team of sculptors worked on it, and in 1559 Primaticcio completed the work. Five marble statues of praying figures flank the recumbent figures. Three of these, including those of the sovereigns, are attributed to Pierre Bontemps, who executed the reliefs. Bontemps' portraits are official, neither revolutionary nor timid. His style is frank and solemn, though it occasionally lapses into a heavy softness in the modelling - a fault veiled by his technical virtuosity in the rendering of realistic details, physical characteristics, costumes and jewelry.




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