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Le Goût du Prince

A great patron of the arts, King Francis I laid the foundations of the French royal collections now housed at the Louvre; among the many masterpieces he acquired was the Mona Lisa. After discovering the aesthetic achievements of the High Renaissance during the Italian Wars, he invited Italian artists, architects, and artisans to decorate the Château de Fontainebleau; the sack of Rome by the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1527 no doubt helped his cause. Together with French artists, the Mannerist masters Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio developed the lavish, classically inspired style now known as the Fontainebleau School. Through nearly 120 sculptures, prints, paintings, enamels, ceramics, and medals, Le Goût du Prince: Art and Prestige in Sixteenth-Century France explores how an emphasis on refined aesthetics trickled down to the aristocracy and found expression in everything from staircases to salt cellars.