Thursday, August 9, 2012

Clouet, Francois

Portrait of Francis I, King of France (Francois I of France on horseback)
c. 1540
Oil on wood
27 x 22 cm
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

François Clouet (c. 1510 - 1572) was a French Renaissance miniaturist and painter, particularly known for his detailed portraits of the French ruling family.

Clouet resided in Paris in the Temple quarter, and in 1568 is known to have been under the patronage of Claude Gouffier de Boisy, Seigneur d'Oiron, and his wife Claude de Baune. In 1571 he was summoned to the office of the Court of the Mint, and his opinion was taken on the likeness to the king of a portrait struck by the mint. He prepared the death-mask of Henry II, as in 1547 he had taken a similar mask of the face and hands of Francis I., in order that the effigy to be used at the funeral might be prepared from his drawings; and on each of these occasions he executed the painting to be used in the decorations of the church and the banners for the great ceremony. His work is remarkable for the elaborate finish of all the details, the extreme accuracy of the drawing, and the exquisite completeness of the whole portrait.

He died on 22 December 1572, shortly after the massacre of St Bartholomew, and his will, mentioning his sister and his two illegitimate daughters, and dealing with the disposition of a considerable amount of property, is still in existence. His daughters subsequently became nuns.