Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold: Abundance and Excess in the French Renaissance

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Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold: Abundance and Excess in the French Renaissance

Rebecca Zorach

Publisher: University of Chicago PressFormat: Hardcover

France is not known for its Renaissance art or artists, but French monarchs in the sixteenth century believed they were the heirs of the Roman Empire and produced a magnificent array of visual arts to express and support this presumed ascendancy. With an unparalleled interdisciplinary approach, Rebecca Zorach examines the rich visual culture of sixteenth-century France in the context of its depictions of sacrifice, luxury, violence, and sexual excess. The metaphorical roles played by blood, milk, ink, and gold - materials of value and abundance - in the lavish royal court at Fontainebleau and in urban centers are here explored in a vibrant tableau based on thorough scholarship that illuminates our own contemporary relationship to excess. Often represented in overtly sexual imagery, this aesthetic of excess conveys the early modern French preoccupation with buxom figures, their fecund bellies, and anything suggesting fertility, metamorphosis, or rebirth.From marvelous works by Francois Clouct to Benvenuto Cellini's golden saltcellar fashioned for Francis I, Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold covers an astounding range of subjects with precision and panache, producing the most lucid, well-rounded portrait of French Renaissance art and culture to date.

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