Francis I of France

   A member of the Valois dynasty, Francis I was the son of Charles d'Angoulême and Louise of Savoy. He received the title of Duke of Valois at the age of four. In 1514, he married Claude, the daughter of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany. As the Salic laws of France prevented women from ascending the throne, Francis became the king when Louis XII, his cousin, died (1515). Francis was involved in the Italian wars when Spain and France were vying for control of Northern Italy. In 1525, he was captured by Emperor Charles V who forced him to sign the Treaty of Madrid in which he renounced all claims to Italian territories and ceded Burgundy to Charles. As soon as he was released, however, Francis allied himself with Clement VII, Venice, Milan, and Florence (the League of Cognac) against the emperor. Francis was a humanist and his court became a major center of art and culture. The French Jean Clouet was his court painter. Francis also imported artists from other parts of Europe, including Joos van Cleve, Benvenuto Cellini, Rosso Fiorentino, Francesco Primaticcio, Sebastiano Serlio, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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