Intellectual Life

Intellectual Life under Francis I., Henri II., 1515-1559

The period between 1515 and 1559 saw the zenith of RENAISSANCE culture in France. FRANCIS I. had the chateaus of CHAMBORD (on the Loire) and FONTAINEBLEAU built, the chateaux de BLOIS and de AMBOISE reconstructed; he called to his court Italian renaissance artists such as LEONARDO DA VINCI (he lived in Amboise from 1516 until his death in 1519), BENVENUTO CELLINI and ANDREA DEL SARTO. He was patron of French writers such as FRANCOIS RABELAIS (1494-1553, Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1532-1552), GUILLAUME BUDE (1467-1540, the founder of the Bibliotheque the Fontainebleau which became the nucleus of the Bibliotheque Nationale) and CLEMENT MAROT (1496-1544, poet). JEAN CLOUET (c.1485-c.1540) was Francis' court painter.
In 1529, Francis I. founded the COLLEGE DE FRANCE as a (secular) institution of higher learning; Guillaume Bude was charged with its organization..
Henri II. continued in the footsteps of his father; he built the chateau de CHENONCEAU, which he presented to his mistress Diane de Poitiers in 1547. In 1533, Henri II. had been married to the 14-year-old CATHERINE DE MEDICI who, in order to conceal her shortness, wore shoes with high heels, thus introducing them to the world of fashion. Unloved by the people when queen, neglected by her husband who preferred mistress Diane de Poitiers, her time was to come after Henri II.'s death in 1559.

Biography of Francis I., from infoplease
Who is who in 16th century France, from Le Poulet Gauche
The Chateau de la Guilloniere (Chenonceau), from Castles for Rent
Catherine de Medici, from Women's History Resource Site
Francois Rabelais, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Guillaume Bude, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Chronology : French Renaissance, from e-renaissance, in French
La Reforme, from cliohist, in French; French perspective
DOCUMENTS Francois Rabelais (1494-1553): Letter from Gargantua to his son Pantagruel, from World Civilization Reader
From Gargantua and Pantagruel Book 2, Chapter 7, posted by Center for Book Culture
Jean Clouet : Guillaume Bude (1536), from Art Unframed; Clouet, from Web Museum Paris
REFERENCE Le Catalogue des Livres Censurez par la Faculte de Theologie de Paris (1544), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, in French/Latin

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 28th 2007

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