Warriors and Builders


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Sebastian Münster
Swiss, 1488–1552
Basel, 1628
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

This large Weltkronik, a kind of chronological encyclopedia, contains a series of portraits of the Kings of France: here François I, Henri II, François II, Charles IX, Henry III, and Henry IV, are presented, that is, covering the period 1515-1628. François I, portrayed as a Roman princeps in armor, is described as a “gentle” (“freundlicher”) monarch who single-handedly revived the arts in France, after a period of decline (“er hat die abgestorbenen Musas geholet”). In the same book, one can find an interesting description of Fontainebleau, a place renowned for its library, collection of Roman antiques, aviary, and Lustgarten or garden intended for promenade (p. 224.) Needless to say, Münster, a Protestant, is less enthusiastic about François’ followers – largely because of the Wars of Religion.