Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Answer #2

Codpiece #2: Francis I (the Party Tent)
This portrait is by Clouet (1540) and demonstrates the opulence (ah hmm) of the French court. Not a lot of people got this one right, probably because the codpiece bears a disturbing resemblance to a coat rack. Unlike Henry VIII's codpiece, we have a more convincing argument for Francis I's ridiculously erect edifice hiding medication. From Francis' medical records, we know that he suffered from gonorrhea which most likely killed him. Francis also used mercury salves and was probably entering the second stages of syphilis before he had one last go around with his bevy of mistresses.* Francis' wife Claude also was rumored to have died from syphilis, but these rumors began at the English court so we have to assume some level of "my king doesn't have syphilis but yours does" type of rivalry going on.

*Francis was rumored to have contracted syphilis from a lawyer. In an act of revenge, the lawyer infected his wife because he knew she was sleeping with the king.

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