An enthusiastic patron of the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci, this king persuaded the great Italian Renaissance master to make France his home in his later years. (Leonardo brought with him his Mona Lisa, and the famous painting remains in Paris today.) It was even said that the king cradled Leonardo as the great master lay on his deathbed, the king receiving his last breath.
Francis I indeed brought the Renaissance to France, filling the royal palaces with hundreds of paintings and sculptures by the great masters of the day. A man of letters, he also supported writers and added thousands of manuscripts to the royal library.
For the last five hundred years, patrons like Francis have been responsible for preserving the best of Western man’s achievement in arts and letters—the best of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.
We at The Imaginative Conservative also strive to preserve these transcendentals, the “permanent things” that constitute the glory of Western Civilization. Here we offer thoughtful and reflective essays on issues of culture, philosophy, history, politics, economics, the arts, and liberal learning, written by some of the great conservative minds of the present and the past.
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The featured image is “The Death of Leonardo da Vinci” (1818), by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.