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Bernard Palissy
Bernard Palissy

Born most likely in 1510, Bernard Palissy journeyed throughout the regions of France between 1530 and 1540 before settling in Saintes and working as a master glassmaker, later learning glaze firing techniques. Legend has it that he burned everything down to the floorboards of his own house in order to feed his kiln. His glazed earthenware creations, his "figulines rustiques", covered with lead and various metal oxide glazes depict fish, snakes, amphibians and shells. These naturalist subjects that were characteristic of his work took many important people by surprise. He was first a protégé of Anne de Montmorency, and later Catherine de Medici became his patron, commissioning him with part of the decoration of her garden at the Chateau des Tuileries, where he created a grotto. The discovery in 1987 of his workshop and over eight thousand glazed ceramic shards was incontestable proof of his presence there. He was passionate about science, studying geology, physics, chemistry and agronomy, and he even published Discours admirables on his art in 1580. As a Protestant, he was arrested in 1559 but managed to escape the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre. He died in 1589 or 1590 after being judged by the Catholic League and imprisoned in the Bastille. 
He led such an amazing, tumultuous that a veritable myth rose up around him after his death He inspired numerous artists from the 17th century up until the 20th.
Palissy Bernard (vers 1510-1589) (manière de)
Ecouen, musée national de la Renaissance
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