Fontainebleau

Charles Giry-Deloison looks for the realpolitik behind the Renaissance splendours of Francis I's Fontainbleau.

In May 1527, Francis I announced to the not so thrilled municipal authorities of his 'good city' that he intended henceforth to reside in Paris. The king's decision was political. Its implications for the arts were to be considerable. For in Paris, the old Louvre, hardly changed since the time of Charles V, was too small and impracticable to accommodate the large and sophisticated court which accompanied Francis. So, though the chateaux of the Loire were not abandoned, the king embarked on a major programme of prestige building in the Ile-de-France which lasted until his death.

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