Sunday, December 20, 2009
Naked into eternity
The exquisite and unusual funerary monument of Francois I and Claude de France rests in the south transept of St-Denis Basilica near Paris. It's unusual because monuments to kings and queens don't usually appear nude and naturalistic. The artists were Philibert Delorme and Pierre Bontemps. It's one of my favorite pieces of sculpture. Even the feet are beautiful in their artistic sensitivity and sensuality. Claude (1499-1524) died at the age of 24 after bearing the king seven children. Wikipedia calls her "the pawn of so much dynastic maneuvering." Reading between the lines, she may have had privilege, but how little freedom? Francois (1494-1547) lived to the age of 52, and was considered France's first Renaissance monarch.