Giovanni Battista di FIORENTINO ROSSO (GIOVANNI BATTISTA DE JACOPO DI GUASPARE)
Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John
Mixed technique on poplar
Inv. No. 952
105 × 82 cm
The School of Fontainebleau emerged in close dependence on Florence, a thriving art centre which inspired the French court to follow suit. Important representatives of the Italian Renaissance gathered at the favourite residence of Francis I (King of France from 1515 to 1547). More than any other, it was Rosso Fiorentino (1494-1540), who was employed at Fontainebleau from 1531 onward, who left clear traces of his activity behind, for example in his chief work of the period 1531–40: the gallery of François I, the first of its kind in France and still in excellent condition today. With its slightly caricaturesque overstatement in the treatment of both the garments as well as the bodies and faces, Fiorentino’s Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John is considered one of his early masterpieces. Further striking features are the confinement of the surrounding space and the dynamic, restless construction of the composition, both decisive attributes of Mannerism. According to Giorgio Vasari (1511–74), the first artists’ biographer in the history of art, Fiorentino was thought to be self-taught. Educated in the doctrines of Humanism, an intellectual, and allegedly a difficult person to get along with, he was the veritable prototype of a new generation of artists.