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Session of April 1

Lectures of Christian HECK : « Between courtly art, Italy, and the Hausbuchmeister : the cabinet of curiosities of the Power of women in the Livre du Cœur d’amour épris, by René d’Anjou ».

In a manuscript of the Livre du Cœur d’amour épris, about 1480-1490 (BnF, ms fr. 24.399), a miniature represents, at folio 105, Bel Accueil showing to Cœur, to Désir and to Largesse, series of objects hung up at the vault of the portal of the Plaisance castel, residence of God Love, and which evoque :

  • two biblical personages
    • Samson, for the scissors used by Dalila to shave his head
    • Solomon, through the idol he worshipped due to the insistance of his wifes from foreign countries
  • two themes of classical origin
    • Sardanapal, for the distaff and the spindle with which he spinned, with the women (the only one, of the six series, not illustrated by the miniaturist
    • Hercules, for the objects with which he spinned for the love of Iole (and not Omphalos, in an error already existant in the Ovide moralisé, and in Boccacio’s texts)
  • two medieval legends about antique personages
    • the Lai d’Aristote, with the saddle, the spurs… used by Phyllis to dominate him
    • Virgil, for the basket in which a lady let him hung up under her room’s window

This painting is iconographically an unicum. Three fields played an essential role in its genesis :

  • courtly art, northern side of the Alps, from XIIIth and mainly XIVth centuries
  • the cassoni, coffers, and the deschi da parto, birth trays, from Tuscan Quattrocento
  • prints by the Hausbuchmeister.

This miniatures shows the equivalent of a Cabinet of curiosities, collection of rare or mysterious objects. This comparison is clear if we read a letter in which Louis de Laval, about 1480, evoques the « strange things » that René d’Anjou loved to show, and sometimes to give, to his visitors. The analysis of this miniature contributes to the reconstitution of René’s intellectual itinerary, and helps to better understand the building of his literary and artistic culture.

René d’Anjou ; Livre du Cœur d’amour épris ; Medieval iconography ; Illuminated manuscripts ; Power of women

Lectures of Pierre-Yves LE POGAM, Chief Curator of the Sculpture Department of the Louvre Museum : “2014, 800th anniversary of the birth of St Louis. An attempted assessment of a commemorative year”.

The year 2014, eight hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis IX, saw a multitude of events dedicated to the holy king, be it exhibitions, conferences, publications, and various cultural and media events, with a success in terms of audience that can summarize the attendance of the exhibition in the Conciergerie (nearly 200.000 people). In drawing up balance sheet, almost accounting, we need not be ashamed in relation to the extent and variety of research and achievements that had been raised in 1970 for the seventh centenary of the death of St Louis, under the authority of our great predecessors, including Jean-Pierre Babelon and Louis Carolus-Barré. However, for our anniversary year 2014, we shall insist at first on some lacks or regrets, for less handled subjects or unaccomplished collaborations. One thinks in particular to the relationships of Louis IX with Islam or to the use by the French monarchy of the image and memory of the king in modern times. In any event, the contributions of this year 2014 seem very numerous and can be summarized in three perspectives : the man himself, located within his entourage (one thinks in particular of the role of women of his family, but also of its male friendships) ; the government of the kingdom, where the innovations brought by the king well announce further developments ; finally, the complex thematic that affects St Louis and the arts, be it the king’s image in the XIXth century, the influence of the figure of St Louis after 1297 or the artistic orders and the real traits of the man. In this year 2014, which saw the disappearance of one of the most famous French medievalists who was at the same time one of the biographers of St Louis, Jacques Le Goff, we hope that the various events dedicated to Louis IX reported a little bit in his own way the multiple facets of a historical reality which exceeds and fascinates us ceaselessly.

Louis IX ; St Louis ; XIIIth century ; gothic art ; « opus francigenum »


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