Fontainebleau, school of

Fontainebleau, school of, group of 16th-century artists who decorated the royal palace at Fontainebleau. The major figures in this group were Italian painters invited to France by Francis I. Il Rosso, a Florentine and the most important member of the school, arrived at Fontainebleau in 1530; he was followed in 1532 by Francesco Primaticcio, a disciple of Raphael, and Sebastiano Serlio. Niccolò dell'Abbate appeared at the court in 1552 during the reign of Henry II. The art of Fontainebleau, today represented chiefly by the Gallery of Francis I, was an offshoot of the mannerist style developed in Italy. It was characterized by a refined elegance, with crowded figural compositions in which painting and elaborate stucco work were closely integrated. The work of the Fontainebleau artists incorporated allegory in accordance with the courtly liking for symbolism.

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