The Chateau of Ancy-le Franc contains one of the most beautiful collections of mural paintings of the 16th and 17th century in France. The decorations are one of the most important testimonies to mural painting in France in the second half of the 16th century and the start of the 17th century.
The first decoration efforts were undertaken around 1550, commissioned by the chateau’s benefactor, Antoine III de Clermont (1497-1579). Great Italian artists of the School of Fontainebleau came to decorate the nobleman’s apartments on Burgundy ground. There are works attributed to ‘Le Primatice’, Nicolo dell’Abate, Ruggiero de Ruggieri.
There is a painted decor with an antiquities theme. At the time it was rare to have scenes from ancient culture and grotesque Italian scenes commissioned for a private residence. These themes only started showing up frequently in France from the 17th century.
A second decoration effort started around 1590 at the initiative of the heir and grandson Charles-Henry de Clermont-Tonnerre (1571-1640). A number of these decorations were characterised stylistically by painters from the second school of Fontainebleau. There are works that are attributed to Nicolas de Hoey, Philippe Quantin and André Ménassier.
Over the course of the centuries other painted decorations have continuously been added. Another decoration effort was completed in the 19th century by the Clermont-Tonnerre family.