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.
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.
Margaret’s feet are on a greyhound, a symbol of fidelity; Francis’ feet rest on a lion, representing strength.
At the four corners of the tomb stand four statues, each representing one of the cardinal virtues: Courage, Justice, Temperance and 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.
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.
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