The art of the French Renaissance

Course Dates: 21/11/23 - 12/12/23
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Keeley Street
What makes the art of the renaissance in France so fantastical and fanciful? How much does it owe to Italian artists? Where can you see examples and why does so little survive? Discover the story of the rise and fall of the French renaissance.
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Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00

Course Code: VB770

Tue, day, 21 Nov - 12 Dec '23

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

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What is the course about?

It is tempting to consider the renaissance in France as a pale imitation of its Italian precursor. Many of its origins can be traced to Italian painters, architects and sculptors at the court of François I (1494-1547). Artists such Leonardo da Vinci, Benvenuto Cellini, Francesco Primaticcio, and Rosso Fiorentino all worked for the king. However, Italian art was not the only ingredient of the French renaissance style — at the end of the fifteenth century French artists such as Jean Fouquet (c.1420–1481) were being influenced by their Netherlandish contemporaries. Italian and Netherlandish artists certainly helped initiate the French renaissance, but the art created in this period — highly individual and often perplexing — is not just the work of copyists.

The kings of France were great patrons of art, particularly François I whose chateaux — Blois and Chambord in the Loire valley and Fontainebleau near Paris — were all decorated in the renaissance style. At Fontainebleau, Italian artists established workshops to produce the large number of paintings, sculptures, and interior decorations needed for the king’s palaces. They trained local artists in the exaggerated elegance of Mannerism, founding the so-called School of Fontainebleau. By the mid-sixteenth century, France had a number of highly talented home-grown artists, among them the architect Philibert Delorme , the painter François Clouet, the sculptor Germain Pilon and the ceramicist Bernard Palissy.

In this course we will be looking at how renaissance ideas made their way to France and were transformed and developed there. We will consider the impact of key patrons, and artists; key works of art and architecture, and the historical and political background to the art of France from the 1490s to the 1630s.

What will we cover?

• From Burgundy to France — the beginnings of the renaissance in France
• From Italy to France — a second wave of influence
• Chateaux, gardens and decorative arts — the School of Fontainebleau
• Key patrons, painters, architects and sculptors.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Discuss how the development of the French renaissance can be linked to its pre-cursors in Italy and the Netherlands
• Give three examples of how the French renaissance style was used in chateaux, gardens and the decorative arts
• Give an example of how the patronage of French renaissance art influenced its style, development and content.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations and health and safety instructions. You will be invited to join in group discussion.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with lecture, slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally via a Google Classroom. You will be invited to join the Google Classroom within a week of the start of the course.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs, but you are advised to bring a notebook to the classes.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Art and identity: from the High Renaissance to the Reformation
In depth: early Renaissance
The art of the Burgundian Netherlands c. 1360-1480.

Julia Musgrave Tutor Website

Julia Musgrave got her first degree in Chemical Engineering and went on become a Chartered Information Systems Engineer and IT project manager. In 2008 she decided that life was too short for just one career and decided to become an art historian. She has a Graduate Diploma in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art and an MLitt in ‘Art, Style and Design: Renaissance to Modernism, c.1450 – c.1930’ from the University of Glasgow. She gained her Ph.D. at the University of York for her research into the involvement of Roger Fry and the Bloomsbury Group and the social networks of the British art world in the development of the Contemporary Art Society from 1910 to 1939. She is Co-Director of the London Art Salon and an accredited Arts Society lecturer.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.