Francesco Primaticcio

By Angela Slaybe

Biography Information

  • Born on April 30,1504, in Bologna, Italy.
  • He spent most of his life in France (Fontainbleau).
  • One of his first teachers was Giulio Romano, who taught him in Palazzo del Tè. This was in the city of Mantua. (1526-1532)
  • In 1532, Francis I, King of France called him to work on the royal palace in Fontainebleau. There, he worked with Rossio Fiorento.
  • Primaticcio used lots of stucco ornamentation to frame his paintings.
  • His work style was similar to Michealangelo's.
  • His work at Fontainebleau set the decoration of French palaces for the next 150 years.
  • In 1541, the king made him one of his chamberlains. He also appointed him the abbot of Martin at Troyes three years later.
  • Primaticcio’s artistic style was impacted by a man named Parmigianino. The bodies he drew became longer, skinnier, they had long necks, little heads were put onto long bodies, and the people were put into poses that were elegant and strange at the same time. This style was carried on in the 16th and the 17th centuries.
  • He didn’t work a lot with architecture.
  • He died on September 15, 1570, in Paris, France.
  • He worked on paintings, drawings, sculptures, and a little bit of architecture. Three pieces of work he worked on were Chateau Fontainebleau, A Drawing for Ulysses Series at Fontainebleau: Penelope and Ulysses Embrace, and Ulysses and Penelope.

  • His patrons were King Francis I of France and Giulio Romano.

  • The isms that are linked with Primaticcio are classicism because there are pieces with Ulysses (Odysseus), Penelope, and many other Ancient Greek figures, humanism because there are many paintings and drawings that focus on humans, and secularism because many of his works show paganist ideas and many ideas from Ancient Greece are present in his works.

Ulysses and Penelope

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  • This painting was created in 1563.
  • Today, you can find this painting at Wildenstein and Company, New York, New York.
  • This painting is significant because it brings back two characters from the Odyssey, Penelope and Ulysses, otherwise known as Odysseus.

  • This is a painting of Odysseus and Penelope together. They are probably in their room. There are two people in the background, and they can either be some of the suitors or other people that either live with them or visit them. This is probably when Odysseus came back from his journey, and tells his wife the story of his adventures.

  • The ism that is most closely linked with this piece is classicism because it brings back the idea of The Odyssey since it shows two characters in that epic poem. It could also connect to humanism because it is focusing on two people, Ulysses and Penelope.

  • In my opinion, this painting is interesting because it’s cool that The Odyssey wasn’t forgotten or lost in the Middle Ages like other Ancient Greek and Roman discoveries and creations. Even though many things from Ancient times were forgotten, some creations seemed to stand above the others.


"Francesco Primaticcio." International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture. Gale, 1993. Biography in Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

"Francesco Primaticcio." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

"Francesco Primaticcio." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

Primaticcio, Francesco. A Drawing for Ulysses Series at Fontainebleau: Penelope and Ulysses Embrace. mid 16th century. Nationalmuseum, Sweden.

Primaticcio, Francesco. Gabriel, Jacques-Ange. Chateau Fontainebleau. 1551-1554. 1749. Fontainebleau, France.

Primaticcio, Francesco. Ulysses and Penelope. 1563. Wildenstein and Company, New York.