Sections 3 and 4
III: A new style takes hold
IV: Classical tastes flourish
I - A new style takes hold
First appearing in the 1490s in illuminated manuscripts, the use of complex spatial composition and certain ‘classical' decorative motifs continues to develop in the arts until the 1530s. Priority is given to new decorative ideas which come from the Loire Valley or are observed on imported Italian works.
In parallel, an idealized but also expressive representation of the human figure imposes itself, especially in sculpture which takes the form of portrait medallions, reliquary busts and eloquent statues.
While itinerant masters continue to exercise their profession, such as the sculptor Jean Bauduy (Prophets and Sibyls), Toulousain artists distinguish themselves in the mastery of these new styles which they spread widely. Such is the case of goldworkers like Antoine Favier or painters in the mould of Antoine Olivier, the latter a talented master who goes unrecognized for many years. Among the elites, who assert their rank through the arts, flourishes an ideal view of Toulouse and its prestigious Roman past.
II - Classical tastes flourish
As early as the 1530s and 1540s artists and artisans begin searching for models of harmony and rules of composition within the classical canon. This trend towards the classical takes physical form in 1550 in the lines of Jean Rancy's statue Dame Tholose, intended as an embodiment of municipal glory. Nicolas Bachelier and his peers in sculpture, architecture and painting, such as Dominique Bertin and Bernard Nalot, have recourse to vrayes antiques (‘true classics'), basing their endeavours on Roman models and artistic literature. Their talents for design and drawing are exploited even in engineering. This erudite enthusiasm goes hand in hand with a flourishing humanism supported by the world of publishing. At the same time, references to royal castles and their decors abound through direct adaptations or interpretations of engravings. Thus an art derived from sophisticated sources develops, elegantly combining regularity and exuberance.
- Top image: Birth of St Stephen, detail of the tapestry of Saint Étienne Cathedral. Photo Jean-François Peiré – DRAC Occitanie