The French Renaissance Court Robert J. Knecht

Publication date:
15 Apr 2008
Yale University Press
440 pages: 235 x 156mm
70 b-w + 24 color illus.
Sales territories:

The definitive account of the French court, 1483-1589

The court of France in the sixteenth century has often been seen merely as a focus of political intrigue and conflict, but it was also a cultural center in which the visual arts, music, literature, and sport flourished. This book traces for the first time in English the court’s evolution from a nomadic institution to a more sedentary one over the course of a century that began gloriously for France and ended in the horrors of civil war.

Robert Knecht, a renowned expert on Renaissance France, explores the political and cultural importance of the French court through seven reigns from Charles VIII to Henry III, including the tumultuous regency of Catherine de' Medici. Against a sharp precis of political events, he details the structure, daily activities, and festivals of the court. Sumptuously illustrated throughout, this is an enthralling account of an opulent and dynamic institution in which image and representation were key.

Robert Knecht is a former chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies. His previous books include Renaissance Warrior and Patron: The Reign of Francis I; Catherine de Medici; and The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France.

"Engagingly and illustratively written and meticulously researched, The French Renaissance Court, 1483-1589 is a valuable contribution to the political, cultural, intellectual, and social history of early modern France. Replete with genealogies, a complete bibliography, and colorful illustrations, it will be useful for art historians and historians alike who desire an insightful comparison to studies of other Renaissance courts and monarchical government."—Carolyn Corretti, Sixteenth Century Journal