The Triumph of the City


The High Renaissance


(Renaissance  Art Map)



chool of Fontainebleau

Niccolo dell' Abbate


Fontainebleau school

[Fr. Ecole de Fontainebleau].

Term that encompasses work in a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, stuccowork and printmaking, produced from the 1530s to the first decade of the 17th century in France. It evokes an unreal and poetic world of elegant, elongated figures, often in mythological settings, as well as incorporating rich, intricate ornamentation with a characteristic type of strapwork. The phrase was first used by Adam von Bartsch in Le Peintre-graveur (21 vols, Vienna, 1803–21), referring to a group of etchings and engravings, some of which were undoubtedly made at Fontainebleau in France. More generally, it designates the art made to decorate the château of Fontainebleau, built from 1528 by Francis I and his successors, and by extension it covers all works that reflect the art of Fontainebleau.  With the re-evaluation of MANNERISM in the 20th century, the popularity of the Fontainebleau school has increased hugely. There has also been an accompanying increase in the difficulty of defining the term precisely. 



Niccolo dell'

born c. 1512, , Modena, Duchy ofModena
died 1571, Fontainebleau, Fr.

Abbate also spelled Abate painter of the Bolognese school who, along with others, introduced the post-Renaissance Italian style of painting known as Mannerism to France and helped to inspirethe French classical school of landscape painting.

He began his career in Modena as a student of the sculptor Antonio Begarelli. His “Martyrdom ofSt. Peter and St. Paul” in the church of S. Pietro, Modena (1547), probably established his reputation. During his stay in Bologna (1548–52), his style matured, influenced by his contemporaries Correggio and Parmigianino. His stucco-surface landscapes in the Poggi (now Palazzo dell'Università) survive to show his understanding of nature.

In 1552 Abbate was called to the court of the king of France, Henry II, at Fontainebleau, and remained in France for the rest of his life. With Francesco Primaticcio he composed immense murals, most of them later lost. His easel works, which included an enormous number of lyrical landscapes based upon pagan themes, were burned in 1643 by the Austrian regent, Anna. Among his later paintings executed for Charles IX were a series of landscapes with mythologies that influenced the 17th-century French painters Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. He also designed a series of tapestries, “Les Mois arabesques,” and some of his designs were adopted by the painted enamel industry of Limoges. His last works are believed to be 16 murals (1571) in which he was assisted by his son, Giulio Camillo. His work in Franceis recognized as a principal contribution to the first significant, wholly secular movement in French painting, the Fontainebleau style.


The Rape of Proserpine
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris


Deer Hunt
Oil on canvas
Galleria Borghese, Rome


The Continence of Scipio
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris


Orpheus and Eurydice
Oil on canvas, 188 x 237 cm
National Gallery, London


Moise sauve des eaux


Portrait of a Gentleman with a Parrot
oil on canvas
Art History Museum, Vienna



Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy