Agnès Sorel, the “Lady of Beauty” at Loches

The Royal City of Loches

Agnès Sorel was the first official favorite of a king of France and still remains one of the most emblematic women of the late Middle Ages. She left her mark on the royal castle of Loches.

Agnès Sorel, tracing the footsteps of a royal favorite at Loches
Today, Agnès Sorel remains one of the most emblematic women of the Middle Ages in its twilight years. The first official favorite of a king of France, her lively intelligence and artistic taste encouraged the development of court life and patronage. She left her mark most particularly on the royal castle of Loches. For six years, from 1444 to 1450, she liked to make long visits to this place where she is immortalized with the features of the Virgin and Child, in the copy of a portrait painted by Jean Fouquet. It was also at Loches that her royal lover, Charles VII, had the elegant and touching tomb built to hold the body of the deceased favorite in the choir of the Collegiate Church of Saint-Ours, where it remained for more than three centuries. The tomb was vandalized during the French Revolution and, in 1809, was moved to a tower known as “Fair Agnès’s Tower” and later to within the royal castle. In 2005, it was finally returned to the Collegiate Church where its recently restored recumbent stone effigy can be admired today.

A medallion bearing the intertwined initials of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel.

The original of this work is in the Louvre Museum.

This picture used to adorn the tomb in Melun of the man who ordered it, Etienne Chevalier, before being transferred to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Here, Fouquet depicts the Virgin Mary with the features of Agnès Sorel. The Virgin’s complexion is extremely pale. She sits surrounded by red and blue angels (cherubim and seraphim), facing the viewer against an abstract blue background.

A century after her disappearance, the royal favorite still captivates artists and portraitists who pay homage to the superb complexion of the “Lady of Beauty”, whose whiteness contrasts with the black of her gown.

In this oil on canvas, the young mother has given way to a great, elegant and cultured lady who, instead of a child, holds an open book in her hand, a sign of her fine wit and taste for learning.

This undated work faithfully shows the state of the stone effigy at the end of the 18th century.

This undated work faithfully shows the state of the stone effigy at the end of the 18th century.

Cité royale de Loches
Credits: Story

Conception : Cité Royale de Loches / Conseil départemental d'Indre-et-Loire

Informations : chateau-loches.fr
facebook

twitter : @Cite_Loches

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.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile