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Currently shown
Alexandre Évariste Fragonard

Francis I in Benvenuto Cellini's Studio

Artist

Alexandre Évariste Fragonard
Grasse, France, 1780 – Paris 1850

Title

Francis I in Benvenuto Cellini's Studio

Date

1820-1830

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

65.5 x 81.5 cm

Credits

Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 and the Cecil and Marguerite Buller Funds, inv. 2004.108

Collection

Western Art

The Fragonards, from the Rococo painter to the founder of the perfumery in Grasse, were a talented family. Alexandre Évariste learned to paint from his famous father, Jean Honoré, before entering the studio of the illustrious Neoclassical artist David. Fragonard became an early exponent of the “troubadour” style that so appealed to the Empress Josephine. These meticulously painted canvases presented charming scenes and stories from French history, depicted in a nostalgic, moralizing manner. Fragonard’s painting derives as much from Romanticism as from the troubadour spirit. This work illustrates an episode in the life of Cellini, the celebrated Italian sculptor. Cellini was invited to the French court of Francis I. Fragonard is extolling the enlightened royal patronage that is capable of recognizing the superiority of genius. Cellini is shown as an artist whose attitude to the king is not at all servile. He looks on with an air of calm authority as the king, with an eloquent gesture, shows his mistress, the Duchess d’Étampes who was openly hostile to the sculptor, what great art is.

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