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Francis I was king of France from 1515 until his death in 1547. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and his wife, Louise of Savoy. When Louis XII died without a son, Francis I was crowned as the next king. His parents seemed to indulge his every whim. His first biographer, Thomas of Celano, describes Francis's early years in harsh terms.
Francis I's reign coincided with the accelerated growth of Reformation ideas. The Bourbon monarchy had become an absolute monarchy, and the financial demands of war and development of the arts had created a need for efficient management of state and territory. In response, Francis I introduced a number of reforms that helped to improve tax yields and foster the arts. These reforms were continued during the reign of Henry II.
Francis's early education was minimal. He was given some basic instruction from the priests at St. George's in Assisi, but it is possible that he had more formal instruction at the school of the Troubadours. As a teenager, Francis was associated with his father's trade, though he had little interest in becoming a merchant. His parents seemed to indulge his every whim. His first biographer, Thomas of Celano, describes Francis's early years in harsh terms.
Francis I retained a number of humanist scholars in his court. He cultivated the works of the poet Clement Marot and Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples, who later became his spiritual adviser. He also improved the royal library, which was essentially a manuscript collection. In addition to improving the library, he ordered the production of copies of printed books throughout his realm.
Francis I's court activities included numerous celebrations. These events included tournaments, dances, and costume balls. The costumes were often based on mythological themes. Many of the costumes were designed by Primaticcio, an Italian artist. During this time, the Pope was enamored with noble courtesans as well as cheap prostitutes.
Francois' father died in 1496, leaving his widowed mother without a male heir. His mother, Louise of Savoy, was devoted to the education of her two sons. After Francois' mother died, his father treated him as the crown prince and appointed him to the King's council. He also made him Commander-in-Chief of the Guyenne army on October 12, 1512.
A biopic of Pope Francis' life is likely to be made. Two films are in development: one based on the early life of the young priest, and another on his life as a pope. If you're interested in learning more about Pope Francis' life and times, you can also read about his career in the film "Historia de un Cura."
Francis II enjoyed the arts more than he enjoyed learning new things. He collected paintings by the great Italian masters. He also dedicated most of his energy to architecture. He built a new chateau at Villers-Cotterets, added a new wing to the chateau at Blois, refurbished the chateau at Saint-Germain-en-Lay, and commissioned a new city hall in Paris.
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