A Concise History of French Painting by Edward Lucie-Smith

By Edward Lucie-Smith

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This was Simon Marmion, who was probably born in Amiens 29 15 16 i8, 19 SIMON MARMION St Bert in Altarpiece: Soul of St Bertin up to God; carried Choir and oj Angels who spent his working life in Valenciennes: he is said to have lived town from 1458 until his death in 1489. Marmion represents the in this approach made by French fifteenth-century painting to the art of the Low Countries, and he reminds us more of Memling than of Fouquet or the Master of Moulins. He is graceful but superficial. His pictures are sparklingly bright in colouring, and they show how much he enjoys the details of everyday life.

The northern painters working in Rome also evolved an influential style of their own, one which owed a little to Caravaggio, but yet remained essentially distinct. They did not create altarpieces and large decorative schemes, and often they did not work directly on commission, but painted instead for a market which was supplied by various professional art dealers. Their speciality was realistic scenes of low life. The man regarded as the pioneer of the style was the Haarlem artist Pieter van Laer (1 592-1642), nicknamed 'II Bamboccio', a word which means 'doll' or 'puppet', and which refers both to Van Laer's dwarfish appearance and to the small size of the paintings he produced.

Later, when he found himself at grips with the wily Emperor Charles V, his luck deserted him. Francois was humihatingly defeated by the Imperial forces at Pavia wars in Italy. in 1525, At first and taken as a prisoner to Spain. 33 Pavia did not cure Francois or his Court of their passion for all things and it was only on the King's release that the real hegemony of Italian, Italy over the visual arts in France began. The significant event was the of Rosso in France in 1530, followed by his fellow countryman arrival Primaticcio in 1532.

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