The School of Fontainebleau were Italian, Flemish and French artists who painted for France’s royal Château of Fontainebleau. The painters are divided into two groups, the first school and the second school. The first school is largely responsible for introducing the style of Italian Mannerism to France. It included artist such as Rosso Fiorentino (1494 – 1540), Francesco Primaticcio (1505 – 1570) and Niccolò dell’Abbate (1509 – 1571).
This Italian style of painting, influenced by the great masters of Mannerism, such as Michelangelo (1475 – 1564), Raphael (1483 – 1520) and Parmigianino (1503 – 1540), helped to influence a movement of French Mannerism. Many of the works painted there have not survived, but were known as elegant and elaborate allegorical pieces depicting Mythology. The works these Italian artists created were reproduced as prints and widely distributed around France, helping to spread the influence.
Of the Second School of Fontainebleau artists were the Flemish born Ambroise Dubois (1542 – 1614), and the French painters, Toussaint Dubreuil (1561 – 1602) and Martin Fréminet (1567 – 1619).