E.103 Nymph of Fontainebleau in a Frame

E.103 Milan, Nymph of Fontainebleau

Completed by René Boyvin.

Engraving by Pierre Milan, 30.5 x 51.5 S, including first small margin below of .035 and large margin below that with inscription of 4.2 (Vienna, F.I.3).  Inscribed below across center: O Phidias. O Apelles, Quidguamme’ ornatius vestris temporibus excogitari potuit, ea sculpture, cuius hic picturam cernitis, Quam / Franciscus primus, Francorum Rex potentiss bonarum artium ac literarum pater, sub Diana’, á venatu conquiescentis, / atgue vrnam Fontisbellagua effundentis statua, Domi suae inchoatam religuit.~; at the left: Cum priuilegio Regis. (O Phidias, O Apelles, could anything have been devised in your era more beautiful than this sculpture [whose representation you see here]: a sculpture that Francis I, most puissant king of France, foster father of beaux arts and belles lettres, left unfinished in his palace, under [sub] a statue of Diana reposing after the hunt and pouring from a jar the waters of Fontainebleau.)1; at the right: Rous. Floren. Inuen~.

Fig.E.103 (Paris, Ba 12)

Robert-Dumesnil, VIII, 1850, 26-27, 18, as Boyvin.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, I, 508, 186, as Boyvin after Rosso.  Herbet, III, 1899, 35 (1969, 123), R.D.18, as Boyvin.  Levron, 1941, 17-18, 74, 169, as begun by Milan and finished by Boyvin, as probably after a painting by Rosso at Fontainebleau.  Zerner, 1969, XXXVI, P.M.7, as Milan, completed by Boyvin.

COLLECTIONS: Amsterdam (De Jong and de Groot, 1988, 282, Fig., 283, 627).  Boston, 57.608 (slightly damaged left and right edges).  Florence, 22459ss (very damaged).  Florence, Marucelliana, Vol. XXXII, no. 62 (mounted).  Lyons, exhibited (private coll., Dunand, 1973, no. 21, cut at sides).  New York, 32.105 (lightly foxed).  Paris, Ba 12 (lower right stamped: A08880; slightly stained around edges); Ed 3; SNR.  Paris, Hubert Prouté.  Vienna, F.I.3, p.9, no. 16; It.II.21, p.85.


Mariette, Abécédario, 1858-1859, 20-21, as Boyvin after Rosso.

Reiset, 1859, 271, as Boyvin after Rosso.

Barbet de Jouy, 1861, 7-12, as Boyvin copied from the painting in the Laborde Collection (then Seillière Collection, see below), the subject identified from the inscription as Diana but related to the Nymph of Fontainebleau.

Destailleur, 1895, 277, no. 1147.

Dimier, 1900, 302-304, as Boyvin.

Lieure, 1928, 132, as Boyvin.

Kusenberg, 1931, 161, as Boyvin.

Metman, 1941, 204-206, 214, as begun by Milan before 1551 and finished by Boyvin in 1553-1554.

Barocchi, 1950, 253, as Boyvin.

Sterling, 1955, 50-51, as Boyvin, and the source for the two paintings in New York and Paris (see below); he translates sub of the inscription as “surrounding.”

Bardon, 1963, 20, Pl. I, as Boyvin.

Zerner, 1964, 81, as Milan and Boyvin.

Chastel, 1966 (1978, 272), as Boyvin, and, along with Cellini’s Nymph of Fontainebleau, the point of departure for the statue of Diana from Anet, now in the Louvre.  Thereafter as by Milan and Boyvin.

Carroll, 1966, 175, and n. 3.

Oberhuber, 1967-1968, 186-187, no. 275, Pl. 44 (Vienna, F.I.3).

Zerner, 1972, 115, 117, Fig. 175 (Paris, Ed 3).

Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 324, Fig. (Paris, SNR), 325, no. 423.

Béguin and Pressouyre, 1972, 132.

Zerner, in Fontainebleau, 1973, I, 85, Fig. 55, II, 98-99, no. 423 (Paris, SNR).

Miller, 1977 (1966), 102, 115, n. 7.

Borea, 1979, 388, Fig. 258 (Florence, Marucelliana), c. 1550.

Borea, 1980, 263-264, no. 686 (Florence, Marucelliana).

Terry Reece Hackford, in Ornament, 1980, 101-102, no. 91, Pl. XL (Paris, Prouté).

Lévêque, 1984, 47, Fig. (Paris, Ed 3).

Marianne Grivez, in Renaissance, Quebec, 1984, 306-307, Fig. (Paris, Ed 3).

Marianne Grivel, in Ronsard, 1985, 77-78, no. 88, with Fig. (Paris, SNR).

Pope-Hennessy, 1985, 113, as by Boyvin or Milan, probably after Rosso.

Béguin and Tosi, in Delay, 1987, 45-77, 181-211, Pl. (Paris, Ed 3), the inscription perhaps making an allusion to Cellini’s Nymph of Fontainebleau, abandoned in 1543 and which became Diana, a work that Boyvin did not know directly.

Carroll, 1987, 21, 31, 41, 43, 44, 46, 252-256, no. 79, with Fig. (Vienna, F.I.3).

Delay, 1987, 29, 168, as conceived by Rosso as the Nymph of Fontainebleau and then became Diana.

E. Hevers, in Zauber der Medusa, 1987, 152, no. I, 25, with Fig. (Paris).

Béguin, in Delay, 1987, 53, 54-55, Pl. (Paris), 201, the inscription possibly making an allusion to Cellini’s Nymph of Fontainebleau which became Diana.

Béguin, 1989, 835 and Fig. 30 (Vienna).

Carroll, 1989, 16, 24-25, Fig. 42 (Vienna, F.I.3, p.9, no. 16).

Waddington, 1991, 123, emphasized the reference to Diana in the inscription as indicating the significance of this goddess at Fontainebleau during the reign of Francis I.

Scalliérez, 1992, 63, under no. 17, as representing a destroyed fresco by Rosso at Fontainebleau.

Brugerolles and Guillet, 1994, 130, under no. 42.

Zerner and Acton, in French Renaissance, 1994, 301-302, no. 72, Fig. (Paris, Ed 3, Vol. 1), note that the word statua of the inscription would normally apply to sculpture in the round and not to relief, but they also say that the inscription is ungrammatical.

Knecht, 1994, 432, as the best known print of Milan and Boyvin.

The attribution of the design of this print to Rosso, as indicated by the inscription, has never been questioned.  Most likely the engraving was based on a lost drawing or drawings by Rosso in reverse, done early in 1534 and partly after mid-August 1536 for the decoration of the central wall of the south side of the Gallery of Francis I.  On the inscription, which, after the death of Francis I, identifies the nymph as Diana, and on the place of the Nymph of Fontainebleau in the Gallery of Francis I, see P.22, IV S.

Metman is almost certainly correct in having identified the print with the plate by Milan “après [one of] les compartiments de Fontainebleau” that the engraver left with Claude Bernard on 31 October 1545, and with the same plate “d’un compartiment après Me Roux” that Boyvin was commissioned to complete on 3 March 1553 and which was finished by 15 February 1554.  At the time of Bernard’s death in 1557 he owned 840 impressions of this print.  It cannot be determined from the print itself what is Milan’s part and what Boyvin’s.  The two naked boys in the lower right corner of the print appear in the same direction in an etching by Jean Mignon that is dated 1543 (see below), but it is not clear that they are derived from the engraving, which may not have been begun by then and certainly not finished in 1543, although they are slightly more similar to the figures in that print than to the two reversed and partially draped figures in the Gallery of Francis I.

COPY, PRINT: E.137.  Anonymous (Fig.E.137; New York).  Engraving, 30.1 x 50.2 S, including a small margin below of .04 and a second margin below that with inscription of 4.3 (Vienna).  Inscribed as in the original but without a comma after primus, with a period after potentiss, with a comma after artium, without the comma and apostrophe after Diana, without a comma after conquiescentis, and without a flourish after reliquit.  Also no flourish after Inuen. at the right.  Added inscription in the lower margin at lower left: Apud Valegium formis Venetus• .  Robert-Dumesnil, VIII, 1850, 27-28.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, I, 508, under 186.  Herbet, III, 1899, 42 (1969, 130), 22.  COLLECTIONS: Berlin, 899-53.  Paris, Ed 3.  London, W3-116 IMP. SIZE.  New York.  Poughkeepsie, 82.20 (from Hill-Stone, Inc., Cat. no. 7, 1982, no. 23, Fig.).  Vienna, F.I.3, p.10, no. 18.  LITERATURE: Kusenberg, 1931, 161, 168, as possibly by Boyvin.  Linzeler, 1932, 169.  Levron, 1941, 74, under no. 169.  Zerner, 1969, under P.M.7.  Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 325, under no. 423, and in Fontainebleau, 1973, II, 99, under no. 423.  Borea, 1980, 263-264, under no. 686.  Pope-Hennessy, 1985, 138, Fig. 44 (Poughkeepsie), as by Milan.  Carroll, 1987, 255, n. 3, under no. 79.

This engraving, printed by Valesio in Venice, is a very exact copy of the Milan-Boyvin print.  Renouvier, III, 1855, 35-36, speaks of Giacomo Valeggio as a printmaker in Venice whose prints date 1572-1587.  I do not know the source of this information.  The name in the inscription could be that of the printmaker, printer, or print seller, who could all be the same person.

PARTIAL COPY?, PRINT: Jean Mignon, Holy Family (Fig.Mignon, Holy Family; London).  Engraving, 32.4 x 25.3 S (London).  Inscribed on a small piece of strapwork at the top: 1543.  Bartsch, XVI, 1818, 383, 18, as Anonymous, School of Fontainebleau, after Giulio Romano.  Herbet, V, 1902, 62 (1969, 214), 16, as after Giulio Romano.  Zerner, 1969, J.M.1 (London), as having some relationship to Primaticcio but could be of Mignon’s own design.  Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 314, Fig., 315, no. 403 (Paris), and Fontainebleau, 1973, I, 46, Fig. 11, II, 95, no. 403.  COLLECTIONS: London, 1850-5-27-51 (inscribed in ink at upper left: Ecole de Raphael).  Paris, Ed 8.  LITERATURE: Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 314, Fig., 315, no. 403 (Paris), and Fontainebleau, 1973, I, 46, Fig. 11, II, 95, no. 403, notes that the two angels are taken from the frame of the Danaë in the Gallery of Francis I.  Martine Vasselin, in Raphael et l’art français, 1983, 212-213, no. 307, Fig. 71, mentions Zerner’s observation of 1972 but points out that the ultimate source of the two angels is Raphaelesque.  Carroll, 1987, 253, 255, n. 4, under no. 79.  Béguin, Sylvie, “A propos de Luca Penni,” in Disegno. Actes du Colloque du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, 9 et 10 novembre 1990, Rennes, 1991, 11, Fig. 8, 12, as after Primaticcio.

The two angels in the lower right corner are related to the two putti in the lower right corner of the Milan-Boyvin print and are in the same direction.  As in the engraving, the angels are nude in the etching but each has a wing and they hold between them a scroll instead of a book.  The tilt of the head and the posture of the legs of the right angel are slightly different.  But the two etched angels are more similar to those in the engraving than to the two reversed frescoed figures of the frame of the Danaë in the Gallery of Francis I.  The painted figures have fuller hair, one has flowers in his hair, and they have sashes of drapery wrapped around their bodies.  Because they are in the same direction as those in the engraving, Mignon’s figures could be dependent upon the drawing from which Milan worked.

COPIES, PAINTINGS: Paris, Galerie Charpentier (formerly?).  Oil on panel, 66 x 109.  PROVENANCE: Rome, Cardinal Fesch; the Château d’Anet; Paris, Count Léon de Laborde, in 1861; Paris, Baron Edmond Seillière, in 1931.  LITERATURE: Barbet de Jouy, 1861, 7-13, Pl. (lithograph).  Kusenberg, 1931, 112, 118, 161, 208f., n. 318 (Baron Seillière).  J.B. [Jean Babelon?], review of Kusenberg, 1931, GdBA, 6 pér., VII, June, 1932, 422.  Venturi, IX, 5, 1932, 231, as Paris, formerly comte Léon de Laborde Collection.  Sterling, 1955, 50-51.  Georges Bataille, Les Larmes d’Eros, Paris, 1961, 122-123, Fig.  Jean Babelon, Civilisation Française de la Renaissance, Tournai, 1961, 111-112.  Bousquet, 1964, 131, Fig. (Galerie Charpentier).  Zerner, 1969, under P.M.7.  Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 325, under no. 423.  Zerner, in Fontainebleau, 1973, II, 99, under no. 423.  Cazelles [1974?], no. 20, as lent from the Seillière Collection.

This painting, apparently French and of the sixteenth century, is a very close copy of the Milan-Boyvin engraving, including the text below, although this is shown on a long sheet curled forward in two corners placed between two piers (shown in Barbet de Jouy, 1861, but not in Bousquet, 1964).  The nymph wears a band on her right arm, a necklace with a pendant, and a bit of drapery over her hip.  The vase at her side is decorated and there are flowers growing from the ground in the foreground.

A copy of this painting, with the figure of the Nymph identified as Diana with a crescent moon above her forehead and placed in an extended landscape, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: no. 42.150.12, oil on panel, 66 x 121.3 (Fig.E.103, Painting, New York).  PROVENANCE: Paris, Mrs. Heyward Cutting (until 1917); Paris, Mme de Constantinovitch (1917-1921); New York, Heyward Cutting (1921-1926); Far Hills, N.J., Mrs. Heyward Cutting (1926-1942).  LITERATURE: Burroughs, 1943, 251-253, with Fig.  Sterling, 1955, 50-51, Fig.  School of Fontainebleau, Fort Worth, 1965, 58-59.  Zerner, 1969, under P.M.7.  Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 325, under no. 423.  Zerner, in Fontainebleau, 1973, II, 99, under no. 423.

The painting has generally been thought to be derived from the Milan-Boyvin engraving.  But the placement of the text below on a band of paper between two piers indicates that it is based on the painting at the Galerie Charpentier.

New York, sale, Carleton Gates Collection, 21 December 1876, no. 484.  A note at the Metropolitan Museum of Art indicates that the provenance of this painting was given as identical to that of the Galerie Charpentier picture.  In 1861 that painting was owned by comte de Laborde and in 1931 it was in the collection of his son-in-law Baron Seillière.  Therefore, it is not certain that the Carleton Gates painting was in fact the same picture.  The description in the sales catalogue, mentioned by Sterling, 1955, 51, does not clarify this issue, or whether it was instead the painting now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or an otherwise unknown third version.

COPIES, PALISSY WARE: The following pieces of ceramic by or from the following of Bernard Palissy borrow the central motif from the Milan-Boyvin print: London, Wallace Collection, III F 226.  Shallow oval bowl, 24.7 x 18.9.  LITERATURE: Norman, 1976, 323-325, Fig., C168.

Paris, Louvre, no. OA 1341.  Shallow oval bowl, 28 x 22 (Fig.E.103, Palissy).  LITERATURE: Norman, 1967, 324, under C168.  (The “similar piece” mentioned by Norman, 1967, 325, as described in A. Tainturier, Les terres émaillées de Bernard Palissy, Paris, 1863, no. 70, would seem to be this bowl in the Louvre.)  L. Dimier, “Le Main-d’oeuvre de la figure dans les ouvrages de Bernard Palissy,” GdBA, 6th pér., XV, March, 1936, 159, 161, Fig. 1o.  Bertrand Jestaz, in EdF, 1972, 440, no. 616, and in Fontainebleau, 1973, I, 85, Fig. 55, II, 136, no. 616, with bibliography.  Amico, Leonard N., Bernard Palissy, In Search of Earthly Paradise, Paris, New York, 1996, 37, 39, Fig. 29, 40, Oval Dish with Diana, the source of its image going back to Rosso’s Nymph of Fontainebleau, engraved by Milan and Boyvin, but more immediately to another engraving based on a silver cup by Paul Hüber and to a related print, not illustrated, that added the dragonfly to the sky.

Paris?, Edouard de Rothschild Collection.  Shallow standing bowl.  LITERATURE: G. de Rothschild and S. Grandjean, Bernard Palissy et son école, Paris, 1952, no. XVI, Pl. 10.  Norman, 1976, 324,under C168, mentioned.

Paris, Préaux sale, 9-11 January 1850, lot 209, sold to Juste.  Shallow standing bowl.  LITERATURE: Catalogues de la précieuse collection … composant le cabinet de Monsieur Préaux, Paris, Bonnefons de Lavaille, 9-11 January 1850.  Norman, 1976, 324, under C168, mentioned.

Paris, Prince Pierre Soltykov sale, 8 April – 1 May 1861, lot 538, bought by Mannheim.  LITERATURE: Norman, 1976, 324-325, under C168, mentioned.


1 This translation was made for me by the late Professor James Day.