Rousseau, Happy at Chenonceau

Castle of Chenonceau

As part of the Year of Rousseau in 2012, the three hundredth anniversary of his birth, a look at the daily life of a "young" Jean-Jacques Rousseau, exhibited at Chenonceau Castle in 2012 and 2013.

The Intelligence of Happiness

Jean-Jacques, pessimistic philosopher, tormented by his nervous and sensitive, nature, gloomy and injured throughout his life by the acrimony of daily life, gives us at Chenonceau the most essential of lessons: a lesson in happiness.

We all have, rooted in our unconscious, a personal image of the philosopher: the purpose of this exhibition is to disintegrate some of our ideas - more resistant, according to Albert Einstein - than an atom. But rest assured, Rousseau takes the path and pace of the walk to teach us in the way of the Greek philosophers. Abandonment and simplicity are the two forces that, with the softness of a breath, will fill our sails and propulse the boat to its destination.

When we surrender to the pleasantness and the beauty of the place, allow our thoughts to wander and delight in our senses, we tame our imagination. Contemplating the foliage, the reflections on the river, the scent of flowers, the birds singing, sharing in the secret dialogue of this man with the soul of nature. But what about the heart? There, the musician and philosopher disappear before mankind. The impossible love for Louise Dupin, the lady of Chenonceau, misleads Jean-Jacques Rousseau before revealing to him the supreme gift of life that is friendship.

Simple ways to be happy: nature, music, beauty, the joys of the body (including gastronomy), friendship, allow creativity to unfold. In this place, conversations, musical compositions, scientific and intellectual research were the foods of this extraordinary brain, whose body and heart were at Chenonceau, protected by the delicacy of his friends. Balance is that which is closest to happiness, no mediocrity, no hypocrisy, nothing debased and most of all, no ugliness: here is the Rousseau's simple lesson for Chenonceau, and it still holds true!

But is not the lesson from Madam Dupin, woman of the Enlightenment and generous heart, even more essential? For her, to be happy, one must make others happy.

Laure Menier,
Curator of the Château de Chenonceau

"Rousseau, Happy at Chenonceau", 2012 -2013 Exhibition

Bust of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, created by Maison Berthelot.

This bust is a replica of that of Carrier-Belleuse (XIX), Montmorency Museum. The original model is small and made out of clay.

Rousseau the Teacher

Between 1743 and 1747, Dupin de Francueil had set up a physics laboratory at Chenonceau, assisted by a secretary, the completely unknown Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The instruments were neither objects of curiosity or research instruments but educational tools for mechanical, optics, astronomy, fluid statics. The Château presents, for the first time, the Physics Study with its original instruments.

First Appointment with Madam Dupin

"Now about my meeting with Madam Dupin, which had greater ramifications. Madam Dupin was, as we know, the daughter of Samuel Bernard and Madam Fontaine. They were three sisters that could be called the Graces. Madam de la Touche, who traveled to England with the Duke of Kingston; Madam Arty, the mistress, and much more, the friend, the one true friend of the Prince of Conti; adorable woman as much by kindness, by the goodness of her charming character, by the pleasantness of her mind and the unalterable gaiety of her humor. Finally, Madam Dupin, the most beautiful of the three and the only one who was not accused of misbehaviour. She was the price of Mr. Dupin's hospitality, to whom her mother gave her with a General Farm and an immense fortune in recognition for his warm welcome upon her arrival in his province. She was still, when I saw for the first time, one of the most beautiful women in Paris. She received me at her dressing table. Her arms were bare, her hair disheveled, her dressing gown disarranged. The meeting was very new to me; my poor head could not comprehend, I was troubled, I digress, and in short, I was enamored of Madam Dupin. My confusion did not seem to to bother her, she did not even notice. She accepted the book and welcomed the author, spoke of my project as an educated person, sang, accompanied herself on the harpsichord, had me stay for dinner, during which she had me sit at her side. It was enough to make me mad; and so I became ... "

To mislead me in these groves
My heart tastes the pleasures!
I take pleasure in this shade!
I love these silvery waves!

Madam Dupin's salon

Madam Dupin's salon was attended by the highest-ranking people and the most beautiful minds: the Princess of Rohan, the Countess of Forcalquier, the Duchess of Mirepoix, Montesquieu, Pont-de-Veyle, Mairan, St. Aulaire, Tressan, Fontenelle, Fourmont, the Abbot of Bernis, Voltaire, Buffon and the Abbot of Saint-Pierre, who Ms. Dupin protected particularly and was somewhat of a mentor.

Her friends, the Countess de Tencin, the Princess of Rohan, the Duchess of Mirepoix, the Countess of Choiseul, Lady Sandwich, Milady Hervey, Madame de Brignole
called "My heart." The most loyal was the Countess of Forcalquier with whom she faced the first revolutionary years at Chenonceau.

When the couple was at Chenonceau, the Duke of Orleans, the Duke of Penthièvre (for whom cannon shots were fired in honor of his arrival), the Duke and Duchess of Choiseul,
during their exile in Chanteloup and the Count of Argenson were among the most illustrious visitors. Lady-Boling-Broke summed up pretty well the impression of the Castle of Chenonceau and its chatelaine: the house was a "pleasant singularity"
and its owner a "zesty singularity."

The Meeting with the Dupins

Louise Dupin lived at the Chateau de Chenonceau in the XVIIIth century. "Lady of Light", she held a salon in the castle where she stayed for long periods. She hired the "young" Jean-Jacques Rousseau as secretary and as tutor to her children.

A beautiful, intelligent and forward thinking woman, with his help she wrote a book "On the Equality of Men and Women," in which she demonstrated a real commitment to feminism. These happy moments spent at Chenonceau would leave their mark on Rousseau and inspire his thoughts and writings.

Music, a Constant Passion

The music was the driving force of Rousseau's life before his meeting with the Dupins.

Learning from failure, education, composition, teaching, copies succeeded until 1742, when his "Project" on new signs for music was rejected by the Academy of Sciences. Anxious to make music accessible to as many as possible, Jean-Jacques Rousseau has developed a new music notation system whose global ramifications continue to be updated.

Chenonceau Physics Study (1745)

Selection of 15 elements in a display case:

- Screw press. Wood (Martin varnish*) In 1728, the martin brothers of Paris were developing an imitation of copal-based lacquer, Martin varnish, to rival Chinese and Japanese lacquers.
- Goat model. Wood (painted)
- Double cone. Wood (painted)
- Device foot. Wood (painted)
- Double cycloidal gutter. Wood (Martin varnish) and metal
Sundial. Metal
- Spiral motion. Wood and metal
Electroscope in gold leaf. Glass, metal and gold
- Clock displaying the time in different parts of the world. Metal
- Convex mirror. Painted wood and metal
- Compound movement. Wood (Martin varnish) and metal
- Inclined plane. Wood (Martin varnish) and metal
- Gear train. Wood (Martin varnish) and metal
- Archimedes' screw. Wood (Martin varnish) and metal
- Physics model: first type of lever. Wood and metal
- Conical spindle principle Wood (stained) and metal
- Crossed levers. Wood (stained) and metal
- Balance of power transmitted by three systems of two coaxial pulleys. Wood (stained) and metal
Hoist with eight pulleys. Wood (stained) and metal
Separate pulley blocks. Wood (stained) and metal
Balance of power with two integral blocks, coaxial and of different diameters. Wood (stained) and metal

Rousseau's System for Writing Music

The triptych of descriptive panels (40 x 60 cm x 3 copies) directed by Jean-Marc Vasseur.

The originality of the "Rousseau" method:
- Make music easier to copy and therefore easier to learn
- Create a simplified notation
- By using conventional print
- Removes staffs, sharps, flats...
- Easily transcribe the works
- Allow the method to evolve
- Compose directly

Illustrations / Scores by Rousseau:
The "Devin du Village," an interlude in one act, performed on October 18 and 24, 1752 at Fontainebleau earned Rousseau great success during his lifetime. This work was then performed at the Paris Opera on March 1, 1753. The "Six new tunes for Devin du Village" were published in 1779 by the Marquis de Girardin.

"Boustrophédon" size 1.5 x 2.1 m
An example of boustrophedon* writing. To make it easier to read from one staff to another, and avoid "jumping the eye," Jean-Jacques Rousseau envisioned a "boustrophedon" notation. This required the writer to write the second staff from right to left, then the one after from left to right, etc. Thus the musician avoided, he said, to "jump" a staff while reading. As for the words, they were reversed, every second line.

* As the ox turns while plowing the field

Château de Chenonceau
Credits: Story

Chenonceau castle, warmly thanks:
Gabriel de Broglie, Chancellor of the Institut de France
Jean-Pierre Babelon, member of the Institute
and president of the Jacquemart André Foundation
Jean-Marc Vasseur, cultural and educational director of the Royal Abbey of Chaalis
Aymar de Virieu, director of Royal Abbey of Chaalis
Marisol Touraine, President of the General Council of Indre et Loire
Julie Pellegrin, Head Heritage Curator, Director of Monuments and Museums
Claude Benkhallouk, Qualified Assistant Curator, in charge of collections, CG 37
The Archaeological Society of Touraine:
Yves Cogoluegnes, President
Pierre Hamelain, Vice President,
Jacques Dubois, Honorary President and Jacques Cattelin, teacher
Eric Bellargent, Director Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes de Mulhouse
Isabelle Dubois-Brinkmann, Curator
Anne-Rose Bringel, Conservator

Photo credits: Image de Marc, Conseil général d’Indre et Loire, Dominique Kinic-copyright Art&Notes 2011 – Collections de l’Abbaye Royale de Chaalis, Jean-Marc Vasseur, 2011 briq - ecliptique

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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