L.36 A Large Painting for Francis I

1530 – 1531

In the record of payment to Rosso for his livelihood in November and December 1530 and from January through July 1531 (DOC.15) it is mentioned that “durant lequel temps il a faict un grant tableau pour le Roy.”  The same document indicates that a frame for this painting (“bois et entretailleure d’icelluy tableau”) was carved by Francesco Scibec de Carpi, which was gilt (“façon dud. aornement de bois”) by Jehan Poulletier.  Archangelle de Platte was paid to crate the picture and ship it to Fontainebleau.

Jehan Poulletier’s work is also recorded in the following document of payment of 8 July 1531:

Min. de Guillaume Payen, notaire au Châtelet de Paris:

“8 juillet 1531. – Jehan Poulletier, paintre dem. a Paris rue de la Vennerie, confesse avoir convenu et marchandé a noble homme Me Julian de Bonacourcy, trésorier et receveur gal de Provence, a ce présent, de dorer bien et deument de fin or, comme il apartient, une grande bordure et ornement de tableau fait pour le Roy, nostre Sire, fors les costez de dehors, selon le devis fait entre eulx, et icelle grant bordure et aornement promect rendre et delivrer bien et deument doré, comme dit est, aud. Bonacourcy dedans le dix-septième jour de ce présent moys de Juillet, moyt le pris et somme de Six vingts livres t… Fait et passé double l’an mil Vc trente et ung le samedi VIIIe jour de juillet. – G. Payen.”1

Roy believed that the picture mentioned in this document was a painted copy by Rosso of Michelangelo’s Leda but that painting and its cartoon did not arrive in France until early 1532, and although Rosso did make a copy of Michelangelo’s cartoon around 1538 (Fig.D.74a), there is no sure evidence that he executed a painting of this subject.  Venturi, IX, 5, 1932, 196, mentions the documents related to Rosso’s lost picture as having been erroneously connected to a copy of Michelangelo’s Leda, which, he points out, had not yet arrived in France.  Cox-Rearick, 1972, 35, believes it may have been a picture painted from Rosso’s Mars and Venus drawing.  This is possible, especially as this drawing was specifically made for the king who, partly on the basis, apparently, of his pleasure with it, invited Rosso to France.  But there is no evidence from the sixteenth century that Rosso executed such a painting.  The one picture of this subject ascribed to him in the seventeenth century is referred to by Cassiano del Pozzo as “un quadretto” and by Dan as “en petit,” hardly, then, the “grant tableau” executed in 1530-1531.  For the suggestion that the large painting may have been Rosso’s lost Judith known from Boyvin’s engraving, see E.7, L.35, and Carroll, 1987, 182, n. 7, under no. 59.  It is possible that the frame for the “grant tableau” carved by Francesco Scibec was designed by Rosso; see L.38 for the frame Rosso designed for Michelangelo’s Leda.


1 Unchecked, from Roy, 1923 (1929, 125, n. 1).