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

Monument for the Heart of Francis I

1550
Marble
Abbey Church, Saint-Denis

That Bontemps' real talent was for decoration is evident from his monument for the heart of Francis I, now at St Denis. Here he worked under the close direction of Philibert de l'Orme, with whom he signed a contract for the monument in 1550; but there is every reason to believe that the real invention of the decoration is due to the sculptor rather than the architect. The round urn standing on a tall rectangular base is one of the finest examples of the decorative style of the Fontainebleau school. The reliefs representing the arts and sciences, which the King had so generously patronized, are of far more sophisticated design than those on the tomb. The round panels on the urn bear witness to the influence of Primaticcio on Bontemps, for the nymphs on them have the elongated forms of his figures.




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