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Portrait of Francis I, King of France

Known in several versions; this is probably the earliest

Joos van Cleve, Netherlandish (active Antwerp and France), c. 1485 - died 1540/41

Made in France, Europe

c. 1532-1533

Oil on panel

28 3/8 × 23 5/16 inches (72.1 × 59.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 354, European Art 1500-1850, third floor (Rubenstein Gallery)

Accession Number:
Cat. 769

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Francis I possibly commissioned this portrait in connection with his second marriage, to Eleanor of Austria, or in commemoration of a meeting with King Henry VIII of England. During his long reign (1515-1547) Francis established France as a center of the arts and attracted many famous artists to his court, including Leonardo da Vinci, whose last years were spent there.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.