Design for a Wall Decoration with a River God and Putti carrying the Symbols of King François I

Artist: Anonymous, French, School of Fontainebleau, 16th century

Artist: Close to the manner of Leonard Thiry (Netherlandish, active Fontainebleau ca. 1536–1550)

Date: ca. 1530–47

Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash over red chalk underdrawing

Dimensions: 12 5/8 x 11 1/8 in. (32 x 28.2 cm)

Classifications: Drawings, Ornament & Architecture

Credit Line: Harry G. Sperling Fund, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.514


The complex layering, extreme flatness, ornamental line, and compression and crowding of forms in the design of this work are all characteristic of the style that evolved at the château at Fontainebleau during the reign of Francis I. At his palace in the woods outside Paris, the king had assembled such talented Italian artists as Rosso Fiorentino (1494–1540) and Francesco Primaticcio (1504–1570) to head a workshop dedicated to every facet of the palace's decoration. This drawing's technique seems closest to that of one of Rosso's collaborators, Léonard Thiry (1500–ca. 1550), particularly his designs for engraved book illustrations.