The arrival of the Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini in France and the creation of works such as the Nymph of Fontainebleau for the Gallic King Francis Ileft an indelible mark on the art of that country for much of the 16th century.
Diana de Clouet's Bath
Although, there were other Italian artists who came before him to work on the Palace of Fontainebleau and decorate that great palace that the monarch had built for himself. The first of these was themannerist painter Rosso Florentino, who came to France in 1530 after achieving success in Rome with some of his religious paintings. And after him, others would come like Francesco Primaticcio or Niccolò dell’Abate. These transalpine creators represented a true renewal and served to form a large part of the French artists, who acquired a series of characteristics typical of Italian art.
It is what is known as Fontainebleau School, and one of its members is Francois Clouet, author of the web that here We present the Diana's Bath, which he made around 1565 and which is currently part of the history painting collection of the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts.
It is a good example of the type of art of this period, a time when nudes are common, in figures that generally follow the canonselongated and possessing the refined sensuality usual in mannerist art. And of course nudes are ideal for making paintings (as well as sculptures or decorations) with a mythological or allegorical theme.
If we look at this canvas it may seem that the characters are actors, they are posing and acting, and they have a natural landscape as a background that is only a background, it only sets the scene since it is an idyllic environment devoid of any idea of drama.
The important thing is to present the beauty, full of eroticism, of female bodies, which contrast even more when compared to the bodies of satyrs, mythological characters half men, half beasts. Compared to them, the white skin of the women, that of the goddess Diana and her entire court of companions are even more striking.
Without a doubt it is a scene that clearly shows what was the art of the School of Fontainebleau and of much of Mannerismthat flooded the royal and aristocratic palaces of Europe for a few decades. Since it is a current where this type of very languid-looking paintings are common, and at the same time with an undoubted purpose of seduction.