Antoinette de Maignelais
Antoinette de Maignelais was the chief mistress of Charles VII of France from 1450 until his death. The Baroness of Villequier by marriage, she replaced her cousin Agnès Sorel as the king's favourite mistress after Sorel's sudden death in 1450. In life she was the mistress of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. Antoinette was the daughter of Marie de Jouy. Through her father she was a first cousin of Agnès Sorel, who served Charles VII as his titular mistress from 1441 until her sudden death in 1450. Before her cousin's death, Antoinette had caught the king's eye. In 1448, when she was fourteen years old, he gave her the lands of Maignelais, the object of a long lawsuit between her ancestor Raoul de Maignelais and the Duke de Bourbon. In the end, the estate had remained in the duke's possession. In her sixteenth year, shortly after Agnès died, Charles VII married Antoinette to his first gentleman of the bedchamber, André, Baron de Villequier, of Guerche in Touraine. On this occasion the king presented Antoinette with the isles of Oleron and Arvert as a marriage portion, with a pension of 2,000 livres a year for life.
The letters granting these advantages are dated October, 1450. For her and her husband, the king ordered the construction of the Château de la Guerche, she became a widow after only four years of marriage. In 1458, Charles presented her daughter, Jeanne de Maignelais, with 8,250 francs upon her marriage to the Sire of Rochefort. Antoinette had another daughter. Charles VII acknowledged neither daughter; when the king died in 1461, Antoinette became the mistress of Duke of Brittany. She died peacefully at Francis II's court in 1474. Wellman, Kathleen. Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France. Yale University Press
Louis de Brézé
Louis de Brézé, Seigneur d'Anet and Comte de Maulevrier was a French nobleman, the grandson of King Charles VII of France by his natural daughter with his mistress Agnès Sorel. Louis was the son of Jacques de Brézé, Sénéchal of Normandy, Charlotte de Valois, the second of Charles VII's three daughters by Agnès Sorel, his paternal grandfather was Pierre de Brézé, noted for valour at Formigny, a grand steward of Normandy. In 1523, Louis uncovered a plot against King Francis I, he did not know at the time that his father-in-law, Jean de Poitiers, Seigneur de Saint Vallier, was involved in the plot. Jean was condemned to death over that involvement, but reprieved by the king due to his having no direct involvement. Louis was influential at court, being named Sénéchal of Master of the Hunt, his home was the family seat, the Château d'Anet, which stood in a royal hunting preserve in the valley of the Eure. He inherited the Château du Bec-Crespin. Before his death in 1531, Louis encouraged the marriage of Prince Henry to the Pope's great-niece, Catherine de' Medici, thus setting up the triangle, to continue until Henry's death, with his widow, Diane de Poitiers, becoming Henry's mistress.
For Diane, King Henry II rebuilt the old Château d'Anet, which became one of the first French Renaissance châteaus, she would be entrusted with much of the management of royal court business. Louis' first wife was Catherine de Dreux, he married Diane de Poitiers on 29 March 1515. They had two daughters. Françoise de Brézé, married Robert IV de La Marck Louise de Brézé, married Claude, Duke of Aumale Louis died on 23 July 1531, it has been expressly stated in an old Norman manuscript, that his bowels were interred at Anet, his heart in the abbey of Coulombs, near his father, his body carried to Notre Dame, at Rouen, placed near that of his grandfather, Pierre de Breze. The tomb that Diane erected for Louis in the cathedral of Rouen was one of the early projects of French Renaissance sculptor Jean Goujon. Blunt, Anthony. Art and Architecture in France, 1500-1700. Yale University Press. Carroll, Stuart. Noble Power During the French Wars of Religion: The Guise Affinity and the Catholic Cause in Normandy.
Cambridge University Press. Wellman, Kathleen. Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France. Yale University Press. "Histoire". Chateau du Bec-Crespin. 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015
Jacques Cœur, was a French merchant, one of the founders of the trade between France and the Levant. He was born at the city where his father, Pierre Cœur, was a rich merchant. Jacques is first heard of around 1418, when he married Macée de Léodepart, daughter of Lambert de Léodepart, an influential citizen, provost of Bourges and a former valet of John, Duke of Berry. About 1429 he formed a commercial partnership with two brothers named Godard. In the same year he established himself at Montpellier, there began the gigantic operations which have made him illustrious among financiers. Details are wanting. In 1436, Cœur was summoned to Paris by Charles VII, made master of the mint; this post was of great importance, the duties onerous. The country was deluged with base monies from three reigns, charged with superscriptions both French and English, Charles was determined to make sweeping reforms. In this design he was ably seconded by the merchant, who, in fact, inspired or prepared all the ordinances concerning the coinage of France issued between 1435 and 1451.
In 1438, he was made steward of the royal expenditure. He chose the motto A vaillans cuers riens impossible, "To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible". In 1444, he was sent as one of the royal commissioners to preside over the new parliament of Languedoc in Pézenas, where his house can still be seen, a position he held until the day of his disgrace. In 1445, his agents in the East negotiated a treaty between the sultan of Egypt and the knights of Rhodes; the results were most important. In the same year, Cœur assisted in an embassy to Amadeus VIII, former Duke of Savoy, chosen Pope as Felix V by the council of Basel and in 1448 he represented the French king at the court of Pope Nicholas V where he was able to arrange an agreement between Nicholas and Amadeus, so end the papal schism. Nicholas treated him with the utmost distinction, lodged him in the papal palace, gave him special licence to traffic with the infidels. From about this time he made advances to Charles to carry on his wars and in 1449, after fighting at the King's side throughout the campaign, he entered Rouen in Charles' triumphal procession.
At this point, the great trader's glory was at its height. He had represented France in three embassies, had supplied the sinews of the war which had ousted the English from Normandy, he was invested with various offices of state, possessed the most colossal fortune, amassed by a private Frenchman. The sea was covered with his ships, he had built houses and chapels, had founded colleges in Paris and Bourges. The house in Bourges was exceptionally magnificent and remains today one of the finest monuments of the Middle Ages in France, he built there the sacristy of the cathedral and a sepulchral chapel for his family. His brother Nicholas Cœur was made Bishop of Lyon, his sister married Jean Bochetel, the King's secretary, his daughter married the son of the Viscount of Bourges, his son Jean Cœur became Archbishop of Bourges, but Cœur's huge monopoly caused his ruin. Dealing in everything: money and arms and jewels, brocades and wool, a broker, a banker, a farmer, he had absorbed the trade of the country, merchants complained they could make no profit because of him.
He had lent money to needy courtiers, to members of the royal family, to the King himself, his debtors, jealous of his wealth, were eager for a chance to cause his downfall. Jacques Cœur is mentioned by Fulcanelli in Le Mystère des Cathédrales where the "master alchemist" speculates that Cœur was a successful alchemist or associated with alchemists and that he was a silversmith in the literal sense, i.e. that he could transmute base metals into small quantities of silver. In February 1450 Agnès Sorel, the King's mistress died. Eighteen months it was rumoured that she had been poisoned, a lady of the court who owed money to Jacques Cœur, Jeanne de Vendôme, wife of François de Montberon, an Italian, Jacques Colonna, formally accused him of having poisoned her. There was no pretext for such a charge, but for this and other alleged crimes the King, on 31 July 1451, gave orders for his arrest and for the seizure of his goods, reserving for himself a large sum of money for the war in Guienne. Commissioners extraordinary, the merchant's declared enemies, were chosen to conduct the trial and an inquiry began, the judges in which were either the prisoner's debtors or the holders of his forfeited estates.
He was accused of having paid French gold and ingots to the infidels, of coining light money, of kidnapping oarsmen for his galleys, of sending back a Christian slave who had taken sanctuary on board one of his ships, of committing frauds and exactions in Languedoc to the King's prejudice
Décolletage is a term used in woman's fashion referring to the upper part of a woman's torso, comprising her neck, shoulders and upper chest, exposed by the neckline of her clothing. The term is most used in Western female fashions and is most applied to a neckline that reveals or emphasizes cleavage. Low-cut necklines are a feature of ball gowns, evening gowns, leotards and swimsuits, among other fashions. Although décolletage does not itself prescribe the extent of exposure of a woman's upper chest, the design of a décolleté garment takes into account current fashions, social norms and the occasion when a garment will be worn. Though neckline styles have varied in Western societies and décolletage may be regarded as aesthetic and an expression of femininity, in some parts of the world any décolletage is considered provocative and shocking. Décolletage is a French word, derived from décolleter, meaning to reveal the neck; the term was first used in English literature sometime before 1831. In strict usage, décolletage is the neckline extending about two handbreadths from the base of the neck down and back.
In Indonesia, a breast cloth known as kemben was worn for centuries until the 20th century. Today, shoulder-exposing gowns still feature in many Indonesian rituals. Gowns which exposed a woman's neck and top of her chest were common and non-controversial in Europe from at least the 11th century until the Victorian period in the 19th century. Ball or evening gowns featured low square décolletage designed to display and emphasize cleavage. During that long period, low-cut dresses exposing breasts were considered more acceptable than they are today. In 1450, Agnès Sorel, mistress to Charles VII of France, is credited with starting a fashion when she wore deep low square décolleté gowns with bared breasts in the French court. Other aristocratic women of the time who were painted with breasts exposed included Simonetta Vespucci, whose portrait with exposed breasts was painted by Piero di Cosimo in c. 1480. Based on woodcut prints, a researcher has argued that during the 17th century, women's fashions with exposed breasts were common in society, from queens to common prostitutes, emulated by all classes.
Anne of Brittany has been painted wearing a dress with a square neckline. Low square décolleté styles were popular in England in the 17th century and Queen Mary II and Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England, were depicted with bared breasts. In aristocratic and upper-class circles, the display of breasts was at times regarded as a status symbol, as a sign of beauty, wealth or social position. From the Renaissance onwards, the bared breast invoked associations with nude sculptures of classical Greece that were exerting an influence on art and architecture of the period. After the French Revolution décolletage become less in the back. During the fashions of the period 1795–1820, many women wore dresses which bared the bosom and shoulders. During the Victorian period, social attitudes required women to cover their bosom in public. For ordinary wear, high collars were the norm. Towards the end of the Victorian period, the full collar was the fashion, though some décolleté dresses were worn on formal occasions.
In 1884, a portrait painting by John Singer Sargent of American-born Paris socialite, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, was criticised when she was depicted in a sleek black dress displaying what was considered scandalous cleavage and her right shoulder strap fallen off her shoulder. The controversy was so great that he reworked the painting to move the shoulder strap from her upper arm to her shoulder, Sargent left Paris for London in 1884, his reputation in tatters; the painting was named "Portrait of Madame X". When it became fashionable, around 1913, for dresses to be worn with what would now be considered a modest round or V-shaped neckline, clergymen all over the world became shocked. In the German Empire, all of the Roman Catholic bishops joined in issuing a pastoral letter attacking modern fashions. Fashions became more restrained in terms of décolletage, while exposure of the leg became more permitted in Western societies, during World War I and remained so for nearly half a century.
In 1953, Hollywood film The French Line was found objectionable under the strict Hays Code with some of Jane Russell's décolletage gowns being described as "intentionally designed to give a bosom peep-show effect beyond extreme décolletage". But other actresses defied the standards. For example, Gina Lollobrigida raised eyebrows with her famous low-cut dress in 1960, other celebrities and models followed suit, the public was not far behind. Low-cut styles of various depths are now common in many situations. During a short period in 1964, "topless" dress designs appeared at fashion shows, but those who wore the dresses in public found themselves arrested on indecency charges. Low necklines result in increased décolletage. In Western and some other societies, there are differences of opinion as to how much body, breast, exposure is acceptable in public. What is considered the appropriate neckline varies by context, is open to differences of opinion. In the United States, in two separate incidents in 2007, Southwest Airlines crews asked travelers to modify their clothing, to wear sweaters, or to leave the plane because the crew did not cons
Louis XI of France
Louis XI, called "Louis the Prudent", was King of France from 1461 to 1483, the sixth from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Charles VII. Louis entered into open rebellion against his father in a short-lived revolt known as the Praguerie in 1440; the king forgave his rebellious vassals, including Louis, to whom he entrusted the management of the Dauphiné a province in southeastern France. Louis's ceaseless intrigues, led his father to banish him from court. From the Dauphiné, Louis led his own political establishment and married Charlotte of Savoy, daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy, against the will of his father. Charles VII sent an army to compel his son to his will, but Louis fled to Burgundy, where he was hosted by Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy, Charles' greatest enemy; when Charles VII died in 1461, Louis left the Burgundian court to take possession of his kingdom. His taste for intrigue and his intense diplomatic activity earned him the nicknames "the Cunning" and "the Universal Spider", as his enemies accused him of spinning webs of plots and conspiracies.
In 1472, the subsequent Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, took up arms against his rival Louis. However, Louis was able to isolate Charles from his English allies by signing the Treaty of Picquigny with Edward IV of England; the treaty formally ended the Hundred Years' War. With the death of Charles the Bold at the Battle of Nancy in 1477, the dynasty of the dukes of Burgundy died out. Louis took advantage of the situation to seize numerous Burgundian territories, including Burgundy proper and Picardy. Without direct foreign threats, Louis was able to eliminate his rebellious vassals, expand royal power, strengthen the economic development of his country, he died on 30 August 1483, was succeeded by his minor son Charles VIII. Louis was born in the son of King Charles VII of France. At the time of the Hundred Years War, the English held northern France, including the city of Paris, Charles VII was restricted to the centre and south of the country. Louis was the grandson of Yolande of Aragon, a force in the royal family for driving the English out of France, at a low point in its struggles.
Just a few weeks after Louis's christening at the Cathedral of St. Étienne on 4 July 1423, the French army suffered a crushing defeat by the English at Cravant. Shortly thereafter, a combined Anglo-Burgundian army threatened Bourges itself. During the reign of Louis's grandfather Charles VI, the Duchy of Burgundy was much connected with the French throne, but because the central government lacked any real power, all the duchies of France tended to act independently. Duke Philip II was the reigning Duke of Burgundy. Philip was an uncle of King Charles VI, he served on a council of regents for King Charles; the Dukes of Anjou and Bourbon, all uncles of Charles VI served on this council of regents. All effective power in France lay with this council of dukes. In its position of independence from the French throne, Burgundy had grown in power. By the reign of Louis's father Charles VII, Philip III was reigning as Duke of Burgundy, the duchy had expanded its borders to include all the territory in France from the North Sea in the north to the Jura Mountains in the south and from the Somme River in the west to the Moselle River in the east.
During the Hundred Years War, the Burgundians allied themselves with England against the French crown. Indeed, the Burgundians were responsible for the capture of Joan of Arc and her execution on 31 May 1431. In 1429, young Louis found himself at Loches in the presence of Joan of Arc, fresh from her first victory over the English at the Siege of Orléans, which initiated a turning point for the French in the Hundred Years War. Joan led troops in other victories at the Battle of Jargeau and the Battle of Patay. Although Joan was unable to liberate Paris during her lifetime, the city was liberated after her death, Louis and his father Charles VII were able to ride in triumph into the city on 12 November 1437. Louis grew up aware of the continuing weakness of the French nation, he regarded his father as a weakling, despised him for this. On 24 June 1436, Louis met Margaret of Scotland, daughter of King James I of Scotland, the bride his father had chosen for diplomatic reasons. There are no direct accounts from Louis or his young bride of their first impressions of each other, it is mere speculation whether they had negative feelings for each other.
Several historians think. But it is universally agreed that Louis entered the ceremony and the marriage itself dutifully, as evidenced by his formal embrace of Margaret upon their first meeting. Louis's marriage with Margaret resulted from the nature of medieval royal diplomacy and the precarious position of the French monarchy at the time; the wedding ceremony—very plain by the standards of the time—took place in the chapel of the castle of Tours on the afternoon of 25 June 1436, was presided over by Renaud of Chartres, the Archbishop of Reims. The 13-year-old Louis looked more mature than his 11-year-old bride, said to resemble a beautiful doll, was treated as such by her in-laws. Charles wore "grey riding pants" and "did not bother to remove his spurs"; the Scottish guests were hustled out after the wedding reception, as the French royal court was quite impoverished at this time. They could not afford an extravagant ceremony or to host their Scottish guests for any longer than they did; the Scots, saw this b
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States, he was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, awarded a lifetime pension. Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time and no system of public music education; when an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five, with whom his professional relationship was mixed. Tchaikovsky's training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood.
From this reconciliation he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style—a task that did not prove easy. The principles that governed melody and other fundamentals of Russian music ran counter to those that governed Western European music. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart since the time of Peter the Great; this resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country's national identity—an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky's career. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother's early death, the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein, the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, his patron though they never met each other, his homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally been considered a major factor, though some musicologists now downplay its importance.
Tchaikovsky's sudden death at the age of 53 is ascribed to cholera. While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were mixed; some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky's music as "lacking in elevated thought," according to longtime New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg, derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a small town in Vyatka Governorate in the Russian Empire, into a family with a long line of military service, his father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, had served as a lieutenant colonel and engineer in the Department of Mines, would manage the Kamsko-Votkinsk Ironworks.
His grandfather, Pyotr Fedorovich Tchaikovsky, was born in the village of Mikolayivka, Poltava Gubernia, Russian Empire, served first as a physician's assistant in the army and as city governor of Glazov in Vyatka. His great-grandfather, a Ukrainian Cossack named Fyodor Chaika, distinguished himself under Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava in 1709. Tchaikovsky's mother, Alexandra Andreyevna, was the second of Ilya's three wives, 18 years her husband's junior and French on her father's side. Both Ilya and Alexandra were trained in the arts, including music—a necessity as a posting to a remote area of Russia meant a need for entertainment, whether in private or at social gatherings. Of his six siblings, Tchaikovsky was close to his sister Alexandra and twin brothers Anatoly and Modest. Alexandra's marriage to Lev Davydov would produce seven children and lend Tchaikovsky the only real family life he would know as an adult during his years of wandering. One of those children, Vladimir Davydov, whom the composer would nickname'Bob', would become close to him.
In 1844, the family hired a 22-year-old French governess. Four-and-a-half-year-old Tchaikovsky was thought too young to study alongside his older brother Nikolai and a niece of the family, his insistence convinced Dürbach otherwise. By the age of six, he had become fluent in German. Tchaikovsky became attached to the young woman. Dürbach saved much of Tchaikovsky's work from this period, including his earliest known compositions, became a source of several childhood anecdotes. Tchaikovsky began piano lessons at age five. Precocious, within three years he had become as adept at reading sheet music as his te
Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy. Normandy is divided into five administrative departments: Calvados, Manche and Seine-Maritime, it covers 30,627 square kilometres, comprising 5% of the territory of metropolitan France. Its population of 3.37 million accounts for around 5% of the population of France. The inhabitants of Normandy are known as Normans, the region is the historic homeland of the Norman language; the historical region of Normandy comprised the present-day region of Normandy, as well as small areas now part of the departments of Mayenne and Sarthe. The Channel Islands are historically part of Normandy. Normandy's name comes from the settlement of the territory by Danish and Norwegian Vikings from the 9th century, confirmed by treaty in the 10th century between King Charles III of France and the Viking jarl Rollo. For a century and a half following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.
Archaeological finds, such as cave paintings, prove that humans were present in the region in prehistoric times. Celts invaded Normandy in successive waves from the 4th to the 3rd century BC; when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, there were nine different Celtic tribes living in Normandy. The Romanisation of Normandy was achieved by the usual methods: Roman roads and a policy of urbanisation. Classicists have knowledge of many Gallo-Roman villas in Normandy. In the late 3rd century, barbarian raids devastated Normandy. Coastal settlements were raided by Saxon pirates. Christianity began to enter the area during this period. In 406, Germanic tribes began invading from the east; as early as 487, the area between the River Somme and the River Loire came under the control of the Frankish lord Clovis. Vikings started to raid the Seine valley during the middle of the 9th century; as early as 841, a Viking fleet appeared at the mouth of the Seine, the principal route by which they entered the kingdom. After attacking and destroying monasteries, including one at Jumièges, they took advantage of the power vacuum created by the disintegration of Charlemagne's empire to take northern France.
The fiefdom of Normandy was created for Rollo. Rollo had besieged Paris but in 911 entered vassalage to the king of the West Franks, Charles the Simple, through the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. In exchange for his homage and fealty, Rollo gained the territory which he and his Viking allies had conquered; the name "Normandy" reflects Rollo's Viking origins. To this day, in Norwegian language the word nordmann denotes a Norwegian person; the descendants of Rollo and his followers adopted the local Gallo-Romance language and intermarried with the area's native Gallo-Roman inhabitants. They became the Normans – a Norman-speaking mixture of Norsemen and indigenous Franks and Romans. Rollo's descendant William became king of England in 1066 after defeating Harold Godwinson, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, at the Battle of Hastings, while retaining the fiefdom of Normandy for himself and his descendants. Besides the conquest of England and the subsequent subjugation of Wales and Ireland, the Normans expanded into other areas.
Norman families, such as that of Tancred of Hauteville, Rainulf Drengot and Guimond de Moulins played important parts in the conquest of southern Italy and the Crusades. The Drengot lineage, de Hauteville's sons William Iron Arm and Humphrey, Robert Guiscard and Roger the Great Count progressively claimed territories in southern Italy until founding the Kingdom of Sicily in 1130, they carved out a place for themselves and their descendants in the Crusader states of Asia Minor and the Holy Land. The 14th-century explorer Jean de Béthencourt established a kingdom in the Canary Islands in 1404, he received the title King of the Canary Islands from Pope Innocent VII but recognized Henry III of Castile as his overlord, who had provided him aid during the conquest. In 1204, during the reign of John Lackland, mainland Normandy was taken from England by France under King Philip II. Insular Normandy remained however under English control. In 1259, Henry III of England recognized the legality of French possession of mainland Normandy under the Treaty of Paris.
His successors, however fought to regain control of their ancient fiefdom. The Charte aux Normands granted by Louis X of France in 1315 – like the analogous Magna Carta granted in England in the aftermath of 1204 – guaranteed the liberties and privileges of the province of Normandy. French Normandy was occupied by English forces during the Hundred Years' War in 1345–1360 and again in 1415–1450. Normandy lost three-quarters of its population during the war. Afterward prosperity returned to Normandy until the Wars of Religion; when many Norman towns joined the Protestant Reformation, battles ensued throughout the province. In the Channel Islands, a period of Calvinism following the Reformation was suppressed when Anglicanism was imposed following the English Civil War. Samuel de Champlain founded Acadia. Four years