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Renaissance fontainebleau cabinet depicting the four seasons
Renaissance fontainebleau cabinet depicting the four seasons - Furniture Style
Ref : 101675
10 000 €
Period :
<= 16th century
Provenance :
Ile De France, School of Fontainebleau
Medium :
Walnut wood
Dimensions :
l. 49.21 inch X H. 72.44 inch X P. 18.5 inch
Galerie Gabrielle Laroche

Haute Epoque Fine Art

+33 (0)1 42 97 59 18
+33 (0)6 08 60 05 82
Renaissance fontainebleau cabinet depicting the four seasons

Everything in this cabinet evokes the rigour and elegance in vogue during the reign of King Henri II of France. This piece is heavily inspired by Fontainebleau’s productions of the second half of the 16th century.

The upper body is slightly recessed. The cabinet opens with four door-leaves and two drawers in the belt.

The Second French Renaissance and the School of Fontainebleau

During the reign of Henri II, furniture works towards a more architectural style. A new style is born and sets the bases of French art. The wardrobe for instance acts as a reduction of a building’s facade and is adorned with modillions, columns and cornices… This interlocking of architectural vocabulary also takes place within rigorous facades thanks to an appetite for ornaments. Door-leaves are covered with motifs and marble inlays frame sculpted areas. It is also a reminder of the long-lasting influence of the Italian artists coming to France during this period and whose marquetry skills were renowned.

Each door-leaf low-relief decor is divided in three registers within a moulded frame. Each panel is centered with a female figure barely covered by a floating drapery, standing in a pastoral landscape.

In the upper left panel the woman holds in her left hand a cup and a bunch of grapes. She is Pomona, allegory of Fall. To her right the woman bearing a basket of fruits is the allegory of Winter. In the lower left panel is depicted Ceres, goddess of agriculture, harvests and fertility. She symbolizes Summer and prosperity. She holds in her right hand a sickle. To her right stands Flora, allegory of Spring with a flower in her left hand.

The thematic of this cabinet’s decor is the four seasons. Here Summer and Spring match the traditional iconography set by Cesare Ripa in 1603 with his publication Iconologia ; female figures with clear attributes. Flower bouquets emphasize the youth of Spring while Summer harvests fields.

The School of Fontainebleau chose the four seasons as a main thematic but not without reinventing models. When only the figure of Spring is usually depicted naked, the School of Fontainebleau chooses to undress each of the four seasons. The supple lines of the bodies are perfectly inscribed in their frames. The influence of Jean Goujon is also manifest both through the panels’ composition and the choice of decor : seasons, nymphs, goddesses. The plastic treatment is also close to his work with low-reliefs, elongated figures and dancing postures.

The structure of the cabinet, its proportions, the division of the ornamental space is very much in tune with the workshops of Fontainebleau. The architectural composition is eased with elegant ringed Corinthian columns acting as the only support elements. The decor is organized on a ternary rhythm both on the panels and the structure with acanthus leaves consoles, moulded panels and symmetric central figures.


The decor and the division of the ornamental space are characteristic of the Second French Renaissance.

The door-leaves are adorned with goddesses inspired by antique ornamental repertoire and Italian influences. The whole is heavily affected by Fontainebleau Mannerism. This type of depiction of the seasons has been particularly fashionable during the second half of the 16th century due to the charm of the female figures.

Apex of French art with its refined decor, rigour of proportions and suppleness of its crownings this cabinet can easily be compared to royal furniture and the extraordinary vitality of Chambord’s, Saint-Germain’s or Fontainbleau’s workshops.

This two-bodies cabinet is a fine example of the Ile-de-France’s production during the second half of the 16th century.

Galerie Gabrielle Laroche


Cabinet & Chest