Monday, January 18, 2010

Answer #4

Codpiece #4: Henri II- the monotonous codpiece
In this painting by Francois Clouet (1558), Henri II's codpiece follows the same upward optimism of Francis I's codpiece, but unlike dad's shiny symbol of manhood, Henri's codpiece was far more faithful. Unfortunately, this fidelity was toward his mistress, Diane de Poitiers (shown below) and not his wife, Catherine de Medici. Henri did have a smattering of indiscretions, but was fairly loyal to Diane. If you were a fly on Henri's codpiece, you might be a bit bored.

The Clouets were the Osmonds of their day setting the style for French portraiture for two generations. Francois's father, Jean Clouet became the official court painter of Francis I and painted several portraits of the royal family. A certain level of monotony and official protocol had to be followed in these state portraits so I don't think the artist's true abilities shine in them.

I think Clouet's chalk drawings have far more life to them. These chalk drawings were collected into albums like family snapshots and Francis inscribed them himself with descriptions and the names of sitters. He then had removable cards cover up his inscriptions and had others guess the sitter based only on the portrait....kind of like the game we are playing today.

1 comment:

Archduchess Maria Carollton said...

Far be it from me to defend philanderers. But you almost can sympathize with Henri for not wanting to have anything to do with his creepy wife, Catherine de Medici. She was an atrocious mother, and perhaps Henri sensed she would eventually destroy them all, which she came close to doing.