Rosso at Fontainebleau and Pontormo in Medici Florence
The Medici returned to power in Florence in 1530, first with Alessandro and then, after 1537, with Cosimo I. Pontormo was still the family’s artist of choice, decorating their villas in Castello and Careggi, and forgoing all other work to devote his energies exclusively to the commission for the now lost frescoes in San Lorenzo. Rosso never returned to Florence, seeking refuge along with other like-minded exiles at the court of Francis I in France, where he succeeded in achieving his dream of becoming a highly valued and well paid court artist, a far cry from the austerity of Savonarola.
Both painters subscribed to the new figurative vocabulary in vogue, Pontormo embracing the style of Michelangelo (albeit critically) while Rosso cultivated an increasingly complex and elegant manner. The tapestries which Pontormo designed for Cosimo I and those woven on the basis of Rosso’s frescoes in Fontainebleau illustrate the two artists’ approach to the royal and princely courts of the European Renaissance.