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Two Centers: The Loire Valley and Paris

Even after Charles VII entered Paris in triumph in 1437, expelling the English occupiers, the kings of France preferred to reside in the Loire Valley rather than Paris. Frequently on the move as they sought to pacify and consolidate their kingdom, Charles VII and his successor, Louis XI, found respite in their castles in this region south and west of Paris. They also drew on talent from the local workshops of the cities of Bourges and Tours. Though Jean Fouquet traveled to Rome early in his career, he returned to his native Tours, painting for king and court with clarity, elegance, and originality; his style would have a long life through the work of his sons and other successors, notably Jean Bourdichon and Jean Poyer.

Paris remained a great center for administration, justice, and the university; for the book trade; and for the workshops of artists who often handed on their patterns from generation to generation. It attracted artists like André d'Ypres, a painter of Flemish origin who was probably the Master of Dreux Budé, who worked in an emotionally charged, realistic style indebted to Rogier van der Weyden. The d'Ypres workshop too continued for several generations, with patrons coming from the same circles as those of Fouquet and fostering constant interchange.


Jean Fouquet. Roundel with the Monogram of Laurens Girard, c. 1460. Design Tours, Glass Probably Paris. Musée de Cluny—Musée national du Moyen Age, Paris, Cl. 1037 a.