French Painting in the Sixteenth Century

French Painting in the Sixteenth Century

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French Painting in the Sixteenth Century

French Painting in the Sixteenth Century

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Excerpt

The present history embraces the period which extends in France from the accession of François I. to the death of Henri IV., with the addition, by way of preface, of the reigns of Charles VIII. and Louis XII.

These reigns saw the commencement of the Renaissance in France; and the author of a history of art in general during that period would have no need to offer his reasons for including them. The new elements of the style inspired by the antique, which the example of Italy was introducing into all the countries of Europe, appear prominently in the sculpture and architecture of the French during those reigns; but in the case of painting there is less reason for including them in the scheme. The same influences, no doubt, were at work there too; but in the first place, the paintings of the day were confined to illuminations, and in the second place, the Gothic principles which, in spite of these developments, continued to prevail in this branch of art more than in the rest, have the effect of making this epoch a matter somewhat out of place in a book that is concerned with painting only. I should have found no lack of reasons, then, for omitting these reigns from the present work. My inducement to retain them in the face of this objection is the necessity of showing what condition French painting was in when François I. undertook to restore, or rather to . . .

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