The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Monday 3 October 2016

Dying slaves

the Dying Slave blushes
 The Montmorency family became involved in one of the conspiracies against the régime of the cardinal duc led by the king's brother Gaston d'Orleans.  Henri II de Montmorency, Marshall of France and scion of the family, was a proven conspirator who finally went to the scaffold on the orders of Armand-Jean and Louis XIII; Richelieu had survived the plot!

In order to protect other members of the old aristocratic family, the surviving Montmorencys decided to make a peace offering to the all powerful cardinal duc on the understanding that the executions and retributions would cease with this single awful walk to the scaffold.  They knew well that the cardinal liked a good statue as he had bought many, both ancient and contemporary, to decorate his new château in Poictou. As they had sometime previously acquired the two 'Dying Slaves', famous 1513 sculptures by Michelangelo Buonarroti, they hoped that they could appease Richelieu by offering them to him as a gift.  The great man accepted them gracefully and placed the pair on the façade on his new castle, one on each side of his Grand Stair's block at first floor level.

Visitors might be reminded of their host's power and glory as they approached an audience with the First Minster of France.

Beauty and Threat in a single gesture...

In the Dôme in the Parc de Richelieu is a plaster cast of one of these famous statues; the original now re-located (after the Revolution) to the Louvre.

back to normal
Henri II de Montmorency
Origin of the slave statues
"The slaves were designed as part of the initial project for the Pope's tomb (in 1505), and Michelangelo began to carve them in 1513 when a second project was developed. A fourth, less grandiose project, elaborated after the pope's death, saw them rejected for financial reasons. Julius II, who had dreamed of a freestanding mausoleum at Saint Peter's in Rome, was buried in San Pietro in Vincoli in a wall tomb, albeit one adorned with Michelangelo's famous Moses (a contemporary of the Slaves). Despite being unfinished, the two great marbles were already admired. Michelangelo donated them to the Florentine exile Roberto Strozzi, who presented them to the French king.
The Slaves thus reached France during the sculptor's lifetime, and first occupied two niches at the Château d'Ecouen (constructed by the constable, Anne de Montmorency) before Cardinal de Richelieu took them to his new château in Poitou. The two Slaves had originally been intended to feature on the pope's tomb alongside similar figures, including the four marble Slaves in the Academy of Florence, carved (and also left incomplete) in 1531–32."

in the Louvre


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