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Tomasso Francini (1571-1651) who was born in Italy and became a naturalized French citizen, was a hyrdaulic engineer and Intendant of Waters and Fountains of King Louis XIII of France. He made some of the most notable fountains of the French Renaissance, including the Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.[1].

Contents

Biography

Francini was born in Florence, and began his career building fountains for the Medici rulers of Florence, working with Jean de Boulogne and other artists at the Villa di Pratolino, where he made several water-powered automatons, or novelty fountains. He may have also worked on the most famous feature of the villa, the statue and grotto of Appennino.

In 1598 he traveled to France at the invitiation of King Henry IV of France. He was accompanied by his brother Alexander Francini, and other members of his family. He became a French citizen in 1600, and soon afterwards became an Ingénieur ordinaire du Roi or ordinary royal enginner. , [2].

In 1623, during the rule of the young King Louis XIII, Francini was raised to the position of Intendant général des Eaux et Fontaines of the KIng, a position which was hereditary. His descendants became fountain makers for Louis XIII and for Louis XIV at Versailles. [3]

The document giving him that title reads: "Louis by the Grace of God King of France and of Navarre....waters and fountains being the principal ornaments of houses and chateaux, and with full confidence in the experience that you have and wishing to recognize the good and agreeable services which you have rendered us for twenty years and in which you continue daily in the research of the necessary inventions for the embelishment of fountains and grottos, aqueducts and artifices and pipes of water in our homes, chateaux and gardens in Paris, Fontainebleau, Saint-Germaine and others. [4]

Fountains and grottos by Tomasso Francini

  • Grottos and fountains at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. (1601), including the grotto of the dragon, the grotto of the demoiselle, and the grotto of Neptune, all since disappeared but known through engravings.[5]
  • Fountain for the Gondi residence in paris, at the site now occupied by the Odéon theater.

Sources and Citations

  1. ^ Allain and Christiany, "L'art des jardins en Europe," and Paris et ses fontaines, de la Renaissance a nos jours.
  2. ^ A. Muesset, Les Francinis, pg. 52.
  3. ^ Luigi Gallo, La présence italienne au 17e siècle, in Paris et ses fontaines.
  4. ^ Archives Nationales, Zl1f570 folio LXVIII, cited by A, Muesset, pg. 54. translation from French by D.R. Siefkin.
  5. ^ Luigi Gallo, pg. 57.

Bibliography

  • A. Muesset, Les Francinis, Paris, 1930.
  • Paris et ses fontaines, de la Renaissance à nos jours, texts assembled by Dominque Massounie, Pauline-Prevost-Marcilhacy and Daniel Rabreau, Délegation a l'action artistique de la Ville de Paris.
  • Yves-Marie Allain and Janine Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 2006
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