Anne of Brittany – Pretty as Prudence

Anne of Brittany lost her parents as a young girl. She was an orphan at 14. Her marriage with the French king wasn’t that great, but it did improve her finances so she could finally get her parents a proper final resting place. She decided to hire Michel Colombe to design and sculpt her parents tomb in the Cathedral of Nantes. The designing and building took 5 years. From 1492 to 1497.

tomb of Francois II of Brittany.

tomb of Francois II of Brittany.

Anne of Brittany 109

The monument consists of a rectangular sarcophagus, 3.90 by 2.33 m high and 1.27. The gisants (recumbent effigies) of the deceased couple are lying prostrate with hands raised in prayer. Their heads rest on thick pillows held up by three angels.

Anne of Brittany 110Anne of Brittany 111

Margaret’s feet are on a greyhound, a symbol of fidelity; Francis’ feet rest on a lion, representing strength.

Anne of Brittany 112Anne of Brittany 113

At the four corners of the tomb stand four statues, each representing one of the cardinal virtues: Courage, Justice, Temperance and Prudence.

Courage

Courage

Justice

Justice

Temperance

Temperance

Prudence

Prudence

The most interesting of the 4 cardinal virtues is Prudence, because that one looks the most like Anne of Brittany herself so that probably means that she identified most with that. It is a dual statue a young woman staring into the future but it also shows an old male face on its back to represent wisdom from the past. She wears a mirror to know herself better and correct mistakes/reflecting and she has serpents at her feet cause the bible says one should be wise like serpents.

Anne of Brittany 117Anne of Brittany 119

Anne of Brittany 120Anne of Brittany 118

Around the tomb are other delicate sculptures in small niches of pink marble. These represent in turn the twelve apostles; the patron saints of the two deceased persons.

the apostles.

the apostles.

Ofcourse the occasion to build all this was sad, but I think Anne of Brittany showed very good taste in the art work she choose to honor her parents.

Bonsoir, mes amis, Hilde

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