"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Fouquet Madonna

Somehow I don't think Jean Fouquet's 15th century rendering of the Virgin and Child will appear on Christmas cards...not in the US, anyway. It exposes too much of the female figure, whose figure is hardly realistic and whose skin is an unearthly, space alien white. Her baby isn't at all pretty. The tubby red and blue cherubs look more diabolical than angelic. It has a very modern appearance, despite having been painted in about 1450, because the entire thing is so wonderfully weird and so vivid coloured.

As well, the madonna is reputed to be the portrait of a fallen woman, Agnes Sorel, mistress to French king Charles VII.

Those who know their jewellery history will be aware that Agnes was one of the first females to wear diamonds on her person. And Charles was purportedly the first man to "put a ring on it," giving her a diamond ring as a token of affection, although she remained his bit on the side until her death.

The Chap and I were talking of this painting the other day. We saw it last year, at the Koninklijk Museum in Antwerp. It's a portion of the Melun Diptych. The other parts of it aren't as weird. Or as memorable.

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