François I Visiting Benvenuto Cellini At The Castle Of Nesle
Medium: Oil On Canvas
Size: 60.4 x 73.7 cm
Signed: lower right: GRISEE
Paris, Galerie Chereau, 1989; New York, Private Collection.
Salon of 1845, no. 765; New Orleans Museum of Art, New York Stair Sainty Matthiesen, Cincinnati Taft Museum of Art, Romance and Chivalry: Literature and History reflected in early nineteenth century painting, June 1996 – February 1997, no 4.
Grisée entered the Ecole des beaux-arts as a pupil of Paul Delaroche in 1842. He frequently exhibited genre and literary pictures as well as enamel portraits at the Salon from 1844 through 1867.
The text of the famous Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, the sixteenth-century sculptor and goldsmith, was the inspiration for this picture. Cellini, who had a great ego, recounted with pride how the King visited him at his studio in the Castle of Nesle: “The King now came to Paris, and I went to pay him my respects. No sooner had his Majesty set eyes upon me than he called me cheerfully, and asked if I had something fine to exhibit at my lodging, for he would come to inspect it. I related all I had been doing; upon which he was seized with a strong desire to come. Accordingly, after this dinner, he set off with Madame de Tampes, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and some other of his greatest nobles, among whom were the King of Navarre, his cousin, and the Queen, his sister; the Dauphin and Dauphiness also attended him; so that upon that day the very flower of the French court came to visit me. I had been some time at home, and was hard at work. When the King arrived at the door of the castle, and heard our hammers going, he bade his company keep silence. Everybody in my house was busily employed, so that the unexpected entrance of his Majesty took me by surprise. The first thing he saw on coming into the great hall was myself with a huge plate of silver in my hand, which I was beating for the body of my Jupiter.”