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Jones, Owen, 1809-1874. / The grammar of ornament

Renaissance ornament,   pp. 107-128

Page 119

in size; the largest of the groups, which are those that cover the pilasters,
being only eight or nine
inches in breadth.  Though so minute, the spirit of the carving, and variety
of devices in these orna-
ments, are marvellous. Masses of foliage, branches of trees, birds, fountains,
bundles of arms, satyrs,
military ensigns, and tools belonging to various arts, are arranged with
much taste. The F crowned-
the monogram of Francis I.-is conspicuous in these arabesques, and the dates
of the years 1525, 1527,
and 1529, are traced upon the draperies.
The tomb which Anne of Brittany caused to be erected to the memory of her
father and mother
was finished and placed in the choir of the Carmelite Church at Nantes on
the ]st of January, 1507.
It is the masterpiece of an artist of great ability and naivetg-Michel Colombe.
 The ornamental
details are peculiarly elegant.  The monument to Cardinal d'Amboise, in the
Cathedral at Rouen,
was begun in the year 1515, under Roulant le Roux, master-mason of the Cathedral.
 No Italian
appears to have assisted in its execution, and we may, therefore, fairly
regard it as an expression
of the vigour with which the Renaissance viru8 had indoctrinated the native
It was in 1530 and 1531 that Francis I. invited Rosso and Primaticcio into
France, and those
distinguished artists were speedily followed by Nicolo del' Abbate, Luca,
Penni, Cellini, Trebatti, and
Girolamo della Robbia.  With their advent, and the foundation of the school
at Fontainebleau, new
elements were introduced into the French Renaissance, to which we shall subsequently
It would exceed the limits of our present sketch to enter fully into the
historical details con-
nected with the art of wood-carving.  It may suffice to point out that every
ornamental feature
available for stone, marble, or bronze, was rapidly transferred also to wood-work,
and that at no
period of the history of Industrial Art has the talent of the sculptor been
more gracefully brought
to bear upon the enrichment of sumptuous furniture.   Our Plates, Nos. LXXXI.
and LXXXII.,
furnish brilliant evidence of the justice of our remarks on this head.  The
attentive student, how-
ever, as he goes over them, will be unable to avoid perceiving a gradual
withdrawing from the
original foliated ornament which formed the stock-in-trade of the early Renaissance
artists. He will
next notice a heaping up of various objects and "capricci," derived
from the antique, accompanied
by a fulness of projection and slight tendency to heaviness; and then, finally,
he will recognise
the general adoption of a particular set of forms differing from the Italian,
and altogether national,
such as the conventional volute incised with small square or oblong indentations
(Plate LXXXI., Figs. 17
and 20), and the medallion heads (Plate LXXXI., Figs. 1 and 17).
The dawning rays of the coming revival of Art in France can scarcely be traced
in the painted
glass of the fifteenth century.  The ornaments, canopies, foliage, and inscriptions,
are generally
taraboyant and angular in character, although freely and crisply made out,
and the figures are
influenced by the prevailing style of drawing.  The glass, although producing
a pleasing effect, is
much thinner-especially the blue-than that of the thirteenth century.  An
immense number of
windows were executed during this epoch, and specimens are to be found more
or less perfect in
almost every large church in France. St. Ouen, at Rouen, has some fine figures
upon a white quarry
ground in the clerestory windows; and good examples of the glass of the century
will be found in
St. Gervais at Paris, and Notre Dame at Chalons-sur-Marne.
Many improvements were introduced into the art at the epoch of the Renaissance.
 The first
masters were employed to make cartoons; enamel was used to give depth to
the colours without
losing the richness, and much more white was employed.  Many of the windows
are very little more
than grisailles, as those designed by Jean Cousin for the Sainte Chapelle
at Vincennes; one of those
representing the angel sounding the fourth trumpet is admirable, both in
composition and drawing.
The Cathedral of Auch also contains some exceedingly fine examples of the
work of Arneaud Demole;
Beauvais also possesses a great deal of the glass of this period, especially
a very fine Jesse window,

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