themes
  diana/diane
hunt

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Léon Davent
French, active ca. 1450–1560
after Francesco Primaticcio
Italian, 1504–1570
Diana and Her Nymphs Hunting a Stag
Boar Hunting Scene
Fishing Scene
Etchings, 1547
Gift of Theodore B. Donson, Class of 1960


These three etchings in oval format were made after designs by Francesco Primaticcio (1504-1570), who arrived in France in 1534 to help the Florentine painter Rosso Fiorentino with the decoration of the royal palace at Fontainebleau, near Paris.

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ruscelli

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Girolamo Ruscelli
Italian, 1500–1566
and Nicolo Nelli
Italian, 1530–ca. 1580
Le Imprese Illustri, Venice, 1566
Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collections, Cornell University Library

 

This very scarce volume of emblems contains the imaginary devices of Henri II, and his beloved mistress Diane de Poitiers. The Venetian engraver employed for this book was Nicolo Nelli, the author of a portrait of Ruscelli now in the Art Institute of Chicago. Ruscelli plays with the notion of incompleteness as the source of (restrained) desire, in both love and politics.

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diana

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Léon Davent
French, active ca. 1540–1560
after Francesco Primaticcio, Italian, 1504–1570
Diana at Rest, after 1547
Etching
Gift of Theodore B. Donson, Class of 1960

 

Given the forested setting of François I’s château of Fontainebleau, in which this image was certainly made, the centrality of Diana, the goddess of the hunt, is not surprising. As we see in this and many other images originating from Fontainebleau, Diana is shown not only in her role as huntress, but also in a position of power over men.

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giovio

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Paolo Giovio
Italian, 1483­–1553
La Vita di Ferrando Davalo Marchese di Pescara
(The Life of Ferrando d’Avalo, Marquis of Pescara)

Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, translated from Latin into Italian, 1551.
From the library of Diane de Poitiers
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


This romanticized biography of a famous Spanish-born Renaissance general, Ferrando, Marquis of Pescara (1490-1525) was written by Paolo Giovio, a popular chronicler of the Italian Wars. Based on the monograms and heraldic symbols which adorn the refined “Venetian” binding (interlaced initials H+D on the border, three royal lilies in the center), it may have been offered by King Henry II of France to his mistress Diane de Poitiers.

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delorme

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Philibert Delorme
French, ca. 1510–1570
The Chapel of the Château of Anet, in Architecture, Paris, 1626
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

 

Delorme was one of the great masters of Renaissance architecture. In 1548, Henry II gave him the supervision of Fontainebleau and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he built the Château Neuf; in 1552 he commissioned him the Château of Anet; under Charles IX (to whom this volume is dedicated), Delorme was employed to construct the Tuileries in Paris, in collaboration with Jean Bullant. He also designed houses for rich merchants in his hometown, Lyon.

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delaune

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Etienne Delaune
French, 1518–1585
Battle of Nude Men, ca. 1550
Engraving
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore B. Donson, Class of 1960

 

The son of a tailor to François I, Etienne Delaune grew up following the itinerant royal court with his father. Like many engravers, he was first trained as a goldsmith, and created many designs for armor, jewelry, and decorative objects. During the reign of François’s son Henri II, Delaune produced prints and also engraved the surfaces of parade armors designed for the king.  This commonality between metalwork and engraving is not surprising, and his prints, like this one, often show a precision and intricacy associated with his original profession.

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