ABATE, Niccolo Dell'

(c. 1509/12-c. 1571)
Niccolo dell'Abate was one of several Italian artists who worked in France in the sixteenth century. Born in the Emilia region, he moved permanently to France and worked at court, primarily at Fontainebleau, where he became proficient at realizing in fresco the designs for large-scale mural decorations of his countryman, Francesco Primaticcio.*
Niccolo's earliest work is found in his native Modena. By 1530 he is docu­mented in the regional capital, Bologna, executing independent commissions in fresco and in oil. Niccolo went to France in 1552 at the behest of Henri II, who, like his father, Francois I,* cultivated a taste for the Italian style. Primaticcio probably engineered the invitation to Niccolo because of his familiarity with illusionistic decorative painting in northern Italy, from that of Andrea Mantegna to more recent developments by Correggio.*
Niccolo undertook customary court assignments and, within Primaticcio's workshop, began fresco decoration for Fontainebleau in the Salle de Bal and the Galerie d'Ulysse. He settled in France with his family, his sons Giulio Cam-illo and Cristoforo becoming his apprentices. His association with Primaticcio and Fontainebleau continued throughout his life. Niccolo also worked on the triumphal entry to Paris in 1571 of Charles IX and Elisabeth of Austria and made drawings for retables executed in enamel by Leionard Limousin for the Sainte-Chapelle, Paris (now Paris, Louvre). He also executed decorations for several private Parisian hotels, including that of the Guise. Niccolo extended the influence of Italian style in France and, as a painter of domestic interiors - where he pioneered in the inclusion of landscape—helped invent an influential decorative style that became popular throughout Europe.
S. Beguin, "Emilia and Fontainebleau: Aspects of a Dialogue," In The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 1986.
E. Brugerolles and D. Guillet, The Renaissance in France: Drawings from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1995.
Sheila ffolliott

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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