A sentimental domestic scene, François I and Marguerite of Navarre, was painted in 1804 by the Salon painter Fleury Richard (fig. 1). As he explained, it illustrates an anecdote from the legend of François I. The king's sister, Marguerite de Navarre, is shown discovering on the windowpane a graffito about the inconstancy of women. François — the great royal womanizer — has just scratched it there and looks very pleased with himself.
This painting signals not only the early nineteenth century's fascination with the Renaissance king, but reveals its attitudes about the Renaissance itself. For example, the setting and the costumes betray a confusion about the periodization of Gothic and Renaissance: the room in which the scene takes place is of Gothic revival design, while another room - in neo-classical style - opens beyond; the king's costume is historically correct, but Marguerite could be Maid Marian.