Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Early Modern Period

16th - 18th century


The smooth transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age is conventionally fixed on such events as the Reformation and the discovery of the "New World," which brought about the emergence of a new image of man and his world. Humanism, which spread out of Italy, also made an essential contribution to this with its promotion of a critical awareness of Christianity and the Church. The Reformation eventually broke the all-embracing power of the Church. After the Thirty Years' War, the concept of a universal empire was also nullified. The era of the nation-state began, bringing with it the desire to build up political and economic power far beyond Europe. The Americas, Africa, and Asia provided regions of expansion for the Europeans.

Proportions of the Human Figure by Leonardo da Vinci (drawing, ca. 1490)
is a prime example of the new approach of Renaissance
artists and scientists to the anatomy of the human body.



France: From the Wars of Religion to the Eve of the Revolution



Mistress of the king of France

French royal mistresses


A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or senior Royal. Some mistresses have had considerable power. The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that Royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch's personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

Favourite, a term sometimes used for mistresses, although also used for court favourites of the monarch with no sexual element in the relationship, often serving as ministers.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence Britain's Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the throne on the grounds that his mother had been the wife rather than one of the mistresses of Charles II.

Arguably the most famous French royal mistress was Madame de Pompadour.




Charles V of France

Biette de Casinel (ca 1340 - ca 1380)

Biette Cassinel oder Biota Cassinelli (* um 1340; † um 1380) genannt „la belle Italienne“, die schöne Italienerin, war die Geliebte des Regenten und späteren Königs von Frankreich Karl V. der Weise. Sie war die erste offizielle Mätresse eines französischen Herrschers.

Biette Cassinel war die Tochter von François Cassinel († 1360), einem Sergeanten in der königlichen Armee, und Urenkelin von Bettino Cassinelli, der aus Italien nach Paris zugewandert war, wodurch der landmannschaftliche Teil ihres Beinamens erklärt wird. Sie war die Ehefrau von Gérard de Montaigu dem Älteren, was sie (und Karl V.) jedoch nicht daran hinderte, ihre Beziehung einzugehen.

Karl V. hatte im Jahr 1350 Johanna von Bourbon geheiratet und von ihr in den Jahren 1357 bis 1360 drei Kinder bekommen, darunter mit Johann (* wohl 1359) auch den erwarteten Thronfolger. Gleichzeitig war er seit 1356, ab der Schlacht von Maupertuis, in der sein Vater Johann II. in englische Gefangenschaft geriet, in der Verpflichtung, Frankreich stellvertretend zu regieren. Mit dem Frieden von Brétigny 1360 kam sein Vater wieder frei, und Karl konnte sich aus der unmittelbaren Verantwortung zurückziehen.

In dieser Situation befand er sich, als er sich von seiner Ehefrau ab- und Biette Cassinel zuwandte. Im Jahr 1363 bekam er von ihr einen Sohn, Jean, der den Familiennamen von Biettes Ehemann erhielt (de Montaigu), aber von Karl, der sich damit öffentlich zu Biette als seiner Mätresse bekannte, anerkannt wurde: Jean de Montaigu erhielt den Titel eines „Bâtard de France“.

1364 änderte sich die politische Situation erneut, als König Johann II. sich nach der Flucht seines Sohnes Ludwig von Anjou, der 1360 als Geisel für die aufzubringenden Zahlungen nach London gegangen war, freiwillig in Gefangenschaft begab. Karl trat ein zweites Mal als Regent an und wurde kurze Zeit später auch König, als Johann II. im April 1364 in London starb. Da zudem sein Sohn Johann in der Zwischenzeit ebenfalls verstorben war, sah er sich nun in der Verpflichtung, für den Erhalt der Familie zu sorgen. Er wandte sich erneut seiner Frau zu, von der er ab Juni 1366 weitere Kinder bekam, darunter im Dezember 1368 dann auch den ersehnten Thronfolger, den späteren Karl VI.

Es ist anzunehmen, dass Biette Cassinel die Beziehung zu Karl für sich und ihre Familie zu nutzen wusste, und dass sie sie auch aufrechterhalten konnte, nachdem Karl zu seiner Frau zurückgekehrt war. Ihr Bruder Ferry Cassinel wurde im Jahr 1375 Bischof von Lodève, später dann Bischof von Auxerre und schließlich sogar Erzbischof von Reims. Ihr Sohn mit Karl VI. machte eine Karriere am königlichen Hof, die ihn unter Karl VI., seinem Halbbruder, bis an die Spitze der Regierung führte. Ihre ehelichen Söhne traten wie ihr Onkel in den Kirchendienst und wurden schließlich – lange nach ihrem Tod – Bischof von Paris bzw. Erzbischof von Sens




Charles VI of France

Odette de Champdivers (ca 1384 - 1424)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Odette de Champdivers (b. about 1390, d. after 1424) was the mistress of Charles VI of France (the Mad) and previously his brother, the Duke of Orléans. She was called la petite reine ("the little queen") by Charles and contemporaries.

Mistress to royalty
Around 1387, her father, Oudin de Champdivers, was equerry stableman (Latin marescallus equorum) at the court of King Charles VI.[1] Odette (sometimes Oudine or Odinette) was born about 1390. Although her family was Burgundian (i.e., supporters of the Duke of Burgundy), before 1407 she was a mistress of Louis I, Duke of Orléans, Burgundy's rival. According to popular rumor, Queen Isabeau of Bavaria was also having an adulterous affair with the Duke of Orléans, her brother-in-law. When Louis died in 1407, Odette became a mistress of his royal brother, King Charles VI. She was about seventeen years old.

Queen Isabeau, the victim of beatings and abuse from her violent, schizophrenic husband, allowed Odette to substitute for her without difficulty. Isabeau feared and loathed the king. By some accounts, she herself arranged for Odette to take her place in the mentally ill king's bed; by others, Odette was put in the position of royal mistress by higher forces as a means to "ensure the influence of the Burgundian king".

Called la petite reine — "the little queen" — by Charles's court, Odette is described as a lively, beautiful young girl with a gentle disposition. Apparently she loved and cared for her unhappy sovereign with the utmost patience and devotion. She is credited for introducing playing cards into France, "for the amusement of [Charles VI] during his paroxysms of insanity."

She had a manor at Créteil and the estate of Belleville in Poitou.

Together, Odette and Charles VI had a daughter, Margaret. On his deathbed, the last words of Charles VI were her name: "Odette. Odette." She later passed into the service as mistress of Charles VII of France, the son of Charles VI and Isabeau.

A breed of French rose has been named for her. Its color is rose spotted with white.

Also, the nineteenth-century French novelist Balzac wrote a historical novel inspired by her life titled Odette de Champdivers.



Charles VI et Odinette, gravure issue de l'ouvrage Histoire de France by François Guizot


Odette de Champdivers by Delacroix




Charles VII of France

Agnès Sorel (ca 1422 - 1450)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Agnès Sorel (1421 – 9 February 1450), known by the sobriquet Dame de beauté, was a mistress of King Charles VII of France.


Life in the royal court
The daughter of a soldier, Jean Soreau, and of Catherine de Maignelais, Sorel was twenty years old when she was first introduced to King Charles. At that time, she was holding a position in the household of Rene I of Naples, Charles' brother-in-law. As reflected in art of the day, she was an extraordinarily beautiful young woman, and was also extremely intelligent. The French king was immediately smitten by her charms and took her as his mistress; he even gave her the Château de Loches (where he had been persuaded by Joan of Arc to be crowned King of France) as her private residence.

Soon, her presence was felt at the royal court in Chinon where her company was alleged to have brought the king out of a protracted depression. She had a very strong influence on the king, and that, in addition to her extravagant tastes, earned her a number of powerful enemies at court.

Suspicious death

Agnès gave birth to three daughters: Marie de Valois and Charlotte and Jeanne de France. (Charlotte's son, Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet, would in turn marry Diane de Poitiers, herself ultimately a famous royal courtesan). While pregnant with their fourth child, she journeyed from Chinon in deep midwinter to join Charles on the campaign of 1450 in Jumièges, wanting to be with him as moral support. There, she suddenly became ill and died on 9 February at the age of 28. While the cause of death was originally thought to be dysentery, scientists have now concluded that Agnès died from being poisoned by mercury, making it likely that she was a victim of murder, with suspects being unknown.

Charles' son, the future King Louis XI, had been in open revolt against his father for the previous four years. It has been speculated that he had Agnès poisoned in order to remove what he may have considered her undue influence over the king. It was also speculated that French financier, noble and minister Jacques Coeur poisoned her, though that theory is widely discredited as an attempt to remove Coeur from the French court. In 2005 French forensic scientist Philippe Charlier examined her remains and determined that the cause of death was mercury poisoning, but offered no opinion about whether she was murdered.[4] Mercury was sometimes used in cosmetic preparations and this could therefore have been the reason for her death.

Her cousin Antoinette de Maignelais took her place as mistress to the king after her death.


Porträt Agnès Sorels von Fouquet Jean


Agnes Sorel



Agnes Sorel was the model for this Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels,
by Fouquet Jean (c.1450)

see also:

Fouquet Jean

Francois Clouet

Jean-Honore Fragonard


Agnes Sorel




Charles VII of France

Antoinette de Maignelais (ca 1430 - ca 1461)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antoinette de Maignelais, baronne de Villequier (1434 — 1474) replaced her deceased cousin Agnès Sorel as the favorite mistress of Charles VII of France from 1450 until his death, and then became the mistress of the Duke of Brittany.

She was the daughter of Jean II de Maignelais and Marie de Jouy. By her father she was a first cousin of Agnès Sorel's, who served Charles VII as his titular mistress from roughly 1441 until her sudden death in 1450.

Even 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 for a possession. This estate had been the object of a long lawsuit between the Duke de Bourbon and Raoul de Maignelais, an ancestor of the young lady's, and had ended in its remaining in the hands of the Duke.

In her sixteenth year, shortly after the death of Agnès Sorel, he married Antoinette to his first gentleman of the bedchamber, André, Baron de Villequier, of Guerche, in Touraine; and, on this occasion, presented her with the isles of Oleron, of Marennes, and Arvert, as a marriage portion, with a pension of two thousand livres a year for life. The letters granting these advantages are dated October, 1450. She became a widow after only four years of marriage.

It was for them that the king ordered the construction of the Château de la Guerche.

In 1458, Charles presented her daughter, Jane de Maignelais, with eight thousand two hundred and fifty francs, on the occasion of her union with the Sire of Rochefort. Antoinette had also another daughter; but neither of them was acknowledged by Charles VII.

The king died in 1461 and she became the mistress of Francis II, Duke of Brittany, with whom she had two sons and two daughters. She died peaceably at his court in 1474.




Louis XI of France

Phélisé Regnard


Phelise Regnard (dite aussi Phelise Renard, Phelise Reynard, Félise Regnard) (1424-1474), dame de la châtellenie de Beaumont (en Trièves) ( de 1452 à 1456), et de la châtellenie de La Mure à Mathésine (du 26 octobre 1461 à 1463), était la fille d'Aymar Reynard seigneur de Saint Didier et fut la première maîtresse du roi de France Louis XI.

Veuve en 1452 d’un écuyer, Jean Pic avec qui elle s’était mariée le 2 novembre 1447, elle donna à Louis XI au moins deux filles : Jeanne et Guyette.

Jeanne de Valois (1447-1519), « L'amirale de Bourbon, dame de Mirebeau, comtesse de Roussillon et de Ligny en Barrois, dame de Valognes et d'Usson » qui sera légitimée par louis XI et mariée par lui à Louis bâtard de Bourbon, comte de Roussillon. La lettre de légitimation de Jeanne porte la date de légitimation (25 février 1465) et le nom de la mère, (Phelise Regnard). Le texte est rédigé en latin comme suit :

"Johanna, filia naturalis Domini Regis per eum et Pheliseam Regnard, domicellam,nuc viduam, genita, uxor Ludovici de Borbonio Comitis Rossilionis, legitima per litteras datas Aurelianis 25 feb.1465.Sinè financiâ.".

Ce document fut trouvé au Cabinet des Titres de l’ Ordre du Saint-Esprit par Gabriel Brizard (1744- 23 janvier 1793), qui fut premier commis à la chancellerie de l' Ordre du Saint-Esprit, avocat, écrivain, éditeur et historien respecté du XVIII° siècle, juriste au Parlement de Paris, proche des Philosophes, connu sous le nom de « Abbé Brizard « ou même de " Brizard " , admirateur et disciple de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire et Gabriel Bonnot de Mably dont il publia les oeuvres complètes qu' il annota parfois.

Cette lettre de légitimation données à Orléans, dont on trouve la trace dans d’ autres auteurs :

Gabriel Brizard Histoire généalogique de la Maison de Beaumont, tome 1er, pages 518, 522, 523.(ouvrage commandé et financé par Christophe de Beaumont, Archevêque de Paris)
Le Père Anselme , Histoire généalogique de la maison royale de la France et des grands officiers de la couronne (1674, 2 vols. 4) - tome 1er, page 122.
Guillaume Blanchard "Compilation chronologique contenant un recueil en abrégé des ordonnances, édits, declarations et lettres patentes des rois de France", 2 vol. in folio, Paris, 1715 - tome 1er, folio.301.
Cependant cette filiation à Phélise Régnard est encore très contestée par d' autres sources et d' autres auteurs qui attribuent souvent Jeanne à Marguerite de Sassenage.Le sujet est toujours en débat et la question reste toujours ouverte.

La seconde fille, Guyette de Valois, (nommée Guyette Durand dans Les Valois de P. VanKerrebrouck) est assurément fille de Louis XI et très probablement (mais sans certitude) de Phélise Regnard, qui sera légitimée également.

Louis XI prétendit être le père d'une autre fille, une certaine Marie de Valois (1449-1469) qui selon les sources serait la fille de Marguerite de Sassenage ou de Phélisé Regnard.

Louis XI aurait eut trois autres enfants dont on ne connait pas les prénoms de différentes maîtresses.

Félizé épousera en première noces Charles de Seillons puis Grâce d'Archelles. Phélise retrouva sa châtellenie, après en avoir été dépouilée en 1456 (année où Charles VII prit en main le Dauphiné) en 1461, à l'avènement de Louis XI, et la conserva jusqu'à sa mort.




Francis I of France

Françoise de Foix (1495 - 1537), countess of Châteaubriant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Françoise de Foix, Comtesse de Châteaubriant (c. 1495 – October 16, 1537) was a mistress of Francis I of France.

Françoise was the daughter of Jean de Foix, Vicomte de Lautrec, and Jeanne d'Aydie. Her father was the son of Pierre de Foix, Vicomte de Lautrec; Pierre had been a younger brother of Gaston IV of Foix, who had married Leonor, Queen of Navarre. Françoise was thus a second cousin of the Duchess of Brittany and Queen of France, Anne, whose mother had been a daughter of Gaston IV and Leonor. Françoise was brought up at Anne's court, where she met Jean de Laval, count of Châteaubriant, to whom she was engaged in 1505. On March 11, 1508, she gave birth to a daughter, Anne, who would die on April 12, 1521. The couple formally married in 1509, living together at Châteaubriant until Francis I called them at court in 1516. Tall and dark-haired, she was also cultured, spoke Latin and Italian, and wrote poetry.

Official mistress
Upon arriving at the royal court, Françoise's attributes and gifts made her alluring to the equally gifted and cultured King, who promptly attempted to seduce her. He began to give favours and gifts to her family. Her husband became a commander of a company. Her elder brother, the Viscount of Lautrec, received the charge of governor of the Milanese duchy. Her two other brothers, Thomas, lord of Lescun, and André, lord of Lesparre or Asparros, were also promoted to high positions in the military by the king. Françoise eventually became the mistress of the king, after a period of resistance, circa 1518.

On April 25, 1519, the Dauphin François was baptised at Amboise. Jean de Châteaubriant and his wife assisted in the ceremony, and Françoise was placed near to the royal princesses, which signified to the Court that she was La mye du roi ("The Sweetheart of the King"). She was the first official mistress that Francis had taken, and he made his affections for her plain to the Court, against her wishes. This greatly displeased his mother, Louise of Savoy, who disliked the de Foix family.

By contrast, Françoise's husband, Jean, though inevitably aware of the affair, showed little interest in the matter: when, in December 1519, Francis sent him to Brittany to negotiate a tax, the Count thanked Francis, and did not raise the matter of the affair. During this time, Françoise remained at the Court, where she was made a lady-in-waiting of Queen Claude, the Duchess of Brittany.

Françoise remained the official mistress of Francis for a decade. She had no political influence, only managing to persuade the King to not disgrace her brother after his defeat at the Battle of Bicocca. However, in 1525, the King was captured at the Battle of Pavia and held captive in Madrid. When he returned to France, the young and blond Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly caught his attention. The two women battled for the King's affections for two years before Françoise gave up and returned to Châteaubriant in 1528.

Later life and death

After returning to Châteaubriant, Françoise continued to live with her husband, Jean, who was made governor of Brittany and received other favours. Françoise still continued to write letters to the King, who visited Châteaubriant many times. His last visit seems to be in 1532, when he stayed at the new castle that Jean had constructed in May.

Françoise de Foix died on October 16, 1537. Her death is the subject of rumours: one legend, related by the French historian Varillas, and taking credence from the known brutality of Jean de Laval, claims that the Count shut his wife in a dark, padded cell and had her killed. In fact, it is considered more likely that Françoise died of a sickness.

She is interred in the church of the Trinitarians of Châteaubriant, where her husband erected a tomb in her memory, with an epitaph by Clément Marot and a statue of her. Jean de Laval died on February 11, 1543, aged 56 and bequeathing a third of his possessions to Anne de Montmorency, including Châteaubriant. He was succeeded in his charges of governor of Brittany by Jean IV de Brosse, the husband of Anne de Pisseleu.

Brantôme also recounted many anecdotes about the countess. An anecdote about an unnamed mistress of Francis I, where the lady is almost surprised by the king when in bed with the admiral Bonnivet, is often attributed to Françoise de Foix.


Françoise de Foix


Françoise de Foix, by Fragonard Jean-Honore


Françoise de Foix, d’après un dessin de Janet


Françoise de Foix




Francis I of France

Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly (1508 - 1580), duchess of Étampes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly,  duchesse d'Étampes (1508 – 1580), mistress of Francis I of France, was a daughter of Guillaume de Pisseleu, a nobleman of Picardy, who, with the rise of his daughter at court, was made seigneur of Meudon, master of waters and forests of Île de France, of Champagne and of Brie.

The life of courtesan to a king


She came to court before 1522 and was one of the maids-of-honour of Louise of Savoy, the mother of Francis I, when she was duchesse d'Angoulême. Francis made Anne his mistress, probably upon his return from his captivity at Madrid (1526), and soon gave up his long-term lover, Françoise de Foix, for her.

Anne was described as being sprightly, pretty, witty and cultured, "the most beautiful among the learned and the most learned among the beautiful"; she succeeded in keeping the favor of the king until his death in 1547. The liaison received some official recognition; when Queen Eleanor of Habsburg entered Paris in 1530, the King and Anne occupied the same window. In 1533, Francis gave her in marriage to Jean IV de Brosse, whom he created duc d'Étampes.

The influence of the duchesse d'Étampes, especially in the last years of the reign, was considerable. She upheld Admiral Philippe de Chabot against the Constable de Montmorency, who was supported by her rival courtesan Diane de Poitiers, the dauphin's mistress. She was a friend to new ideas, tolerant of Protestants, whose beliefs she openly embraced after the King's death and she co-operated with the King's sister, Marguerite d'Angoulême.

She used her influence to elevate and enrich her family, her uncle, Antoine Sanguin (d. 1559), being made bishop of Orléans in 1533 and a cardinal in 1539;[1] her three brothers were made bishops and two sisters were abbesses, the other sisters making great marriages. The accusations made against her of having allowed herself to be won over by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and of playing the traitor in 1544 and in the lead-up to the Treaty of Crépy (September 1545) rest on no serious proof.

After the death of Francis I she was dismissed from the court by Diane de Poitiers, who was by that time mistress to Henry II. Though her creatures at court were humiliated in every way upon her dismissal, she was permitted to die in obscurity much later, probably in the reign of Henry III.


Portrait of Anne attributed to Corneille de Lyon.


Sketch of Anne by François Clouet




Francis I of France

Mary Boleyn (1500 - 1543)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mary Boleyn (c. 1499/1500–19 July 1543) was a member of the English Boleyn family, which enjoyed considerable influence during the reign of King Henry VIII of England. Mary was the sister of Queen consort Anne Boleyn; some historians claim she was the younger sister, but her children believed Mary was the elder sister, as do most historians today.

Mary was one of the mistresses of King Henry VIII and allegedly had two of his children. Mary was also, allegedly, a mistress of Henry VIII's rival, King Francis I of France.

Early life
Mary was born at Blickling Hall, Norfolk and grew up at Hever Castle, Kent. She was the daughter of a wealthy diplomat and courtier, Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard. There is no concrete evidence of her exact date of birth, but it was sometime between 1499 and 1508. Most scholars and historians now favour an earlier date of about 1499. There is firm documentary evidence to suggest that she was also the eldest of the three Boleyn children who survived infancy.[4] The evidence suggests that the surviving Boleyns believed Mary to have been the eldest child; in 1597, her grandson, Lord Hunsdon, claimed the title of “Earl of Ormonde” on the grounds that he was the Boleyns’ legitimate heir. According to the strict rules of aristocratic inheritance, if Anne had been the elder sister, the title would have belonged to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth—since a title descended through the eldest female line in the absence of a surviving male line.

It was once believed that it was Mary who began her education abroad and spent time as a companion to Archduchess Margaret of Austria; but it is now clear that it was her sister, Anne. Mary was kept in England for most of her childhood.

It was not until 1514 that she was sent abroad. Her father secured her a place as maid-of-honour to the King’s sister, Princess Mary Tudor, who was going to Paris to marry King Louis XII of France. After a few weeks, many of the Queen's English maids were ordered to leave but Mary Boleyn was permitted to remain, probably because of her father's position as the new English ambassador. Even when Mary Tudor left France after her husband’s death on 1 January 1515, Mary Boleyn remained at the court of Louis' successor, Francis I of France and his queen Claude of France.

Royal affair in France
Mary was joined in Paris by her father, Sir Thomas, and also her sister, Anne, who had been studying in the Netherlands for the last year. Mary supposedly embarked on several affairs, perhaps including one with King Francis I himself. Although some historians believe that the reports of her sexual escapades are greatly exaggerated, the French king referred to her as "The English Mare" and as "una grandissima ribalda, infame sopra tutti" ("a great prostitute, infamous above all").

She returned to England in 1519, where she was given the position of maid-of-honour to Catherine of Aragon.

Royal mistress
Soon after her return, Mary was married to Sir William Carey, a wealthy and well-connected courtier, on February 4, 1520, and Henry VIII was a guest at the couple's wedding ceremony. At some point, Henry VIII and Mary began an affair, although the timing is unclear. The affair was never publicized, and Mary never enjoyed the kind of fame, wealth and power that acknowledged mistresses in France and other countries sometimes had. The affair is believed to have ended prior to the birth of Mary's second child, Henry Carey, in March 1526. Her first child, Catherine was born in 1524.

During the affair or sometime after, it was rumored that one or both of Mary's children were fathered by the king. One witness noted that Mary's son, Henry Carey, bore a resemblance to Henry VIII. John Hale, Vicar of Isleworth, some ten years after the child was born, remarked that he had met a,'young Master Carey," who was the king's purported bastard child. No other contemporary evidence exists to support the argument that Henry was the king’s biological son.

Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had previously been married to Henry's elder brother Arthur, but Arthur had died only a few months later, when he was a little over 15 years old. Henry later used that fact as the justification for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine, on the grounds that her marriage to Arthur (assuming it was consummated) created an affinity between Henry and Catherine. When Mary Boleyn became Henry's mistress, a similar affinity existed between Henry and Anne. According to church law, because Mary had been Henry's mistress, the subsequent marriage of Henry to Mary's sister was just as illegal as that of Henry to Catherine of Aragon. As Henry was a man who was educated in theology, it is likely that he was aware of this impediment.

Sister’s rise to power
Mary Boleyn's sister, Anne, returned to England in January 1522, achieving considerable popularity at the royal court. The sisters were not particularly close and Anne moved in different social circles.

Although Mary was alleged to have been more attractive than her sister, Anne seems to have been more ambitious and intelligent. When the king took an interest in her, she refused to become his mistress, being shrewd enough to wait give in to his sexual advances until it was the most advantageous.By the middle of 1527, Henry was determined to marry her. This gave him further incentive to seek the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

A year later, when Mary's husband died during an outbreak of sweating sickness, Henry granted Anne Boleyn the wardship of her nephew, Henry Carey. Mary's husband had left her with considerable debts, and Anne arranged for Henry to be educated at a respectable Cistercian monastery. Anne interceded to secure Mary a small annual pension of £100.

Second marriage
In 1532, when Anne accompanied Henry to Calais on a state visit to France, Mary was one of her companions. Anne was crowned Queen on June 1, 1533 and gave birth to her first daughter (later to become Queen Elizabeth I) on 7 September. In 1534, Mary secretly married soldier William Stafford. Because Stafford was a commoner with a small income, most historians believe their union to have been a love match. When the marriage was discovered, Anne was furious, and the Boleyn family disowned her for marrying beneath her station; the couple were banished from the royal court.

Mary's financial circumstances became so desperate that she was reduced to begging the king’s adviser Thomas Cromwell to speak to Henry and Anne on her behalf. Henry, however, was indifferent to her plight; so, Mary asked Cromwell to speak to her father, her uncle, and her brother, but to no avail. It was Anne who relented, sending Mary a magnificent golden cup and some money, but still refusing to receive her at court. This partial reconciliation was the closest the two sisters came, since it is not thought that they met after Mary's court exile.

Mary's life between 1534 and her sister's execution on May 19, 1536 is difficult to trace. There is no record of her visiting her parents, nor did she visit her sister Anne or her brother George Boleyn when the latter was imprisoned in the Tower of London. There is also no evidence that she sent correspondence. Like their uncle, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, she may have thought it wise to avoid association with her now-disgraced relatives.

Mary and her husband remained outcasts, living in retirement at Rochford in Essex. After Anne’s execution, their mother retired from the royal court, dying in seclusion just two years later; her father, Thomas, died the following year. After the deaths of her parents, Mary inherited some property in Essex. She seems to have lived out the rest of her days in anonymity and relative comfort with her second husband. She died in her early forties, on July 19, 1543.



Mary Boleyn




Francis I of France

Madame Feron, genannt La Belle Ferroniere, (1500-1530)

La belle ferronnière is a name that has been applied to two Renaissance portrait paintings. The first (illustrated), though sometimes simply known as Portrait of an Unknown Woman, may be of Lucrezia Crivelli, a mistress of Ludovico Sforza, and is attributed by the Musée du Louvre, where it is conserved, to the school of Leonardo da Vinci in Milan; The other portrait, likely to be of Cecilia Gallerani, another of Ludovico's mistresses, and which is almost certainly by Leonardo, is more often called Lady with an Ermine.

The painting's title, applied as early as the seventeenth century, identifying the sitter as the wife or daughter of an ironmonger (a ferronnier), was said to be discreetly alluding to a reputed mistress of François I married to a certain Le Ferron; the tale is a Romantic legend of revenge, in which the aggrieved husband intentionally infected himself with syphilis, which he passed to the king through infecting his wife. The narrative and the title were applied to Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine when it was in Princess Czartoryski's collection, and became confused with this portrait by the presence in this image also, of a jewel worn on a delicate chain across the forehead.

Bernard Berenson attributed this Leonardesque portrait to Bernardino de' Conti. Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio was suggested by Herbert Cook, who retracted his opinion, seeing Leonardo's own hand, in 1904.

The painting was briefly featured in the opening sequence of the 2006 film The Da Vinci Code.

A later version of the painting had been about to be sold to the Kansas City Art Institute as the original, but was identified as a copy by Sir Joseph Duveen, who permitted his remarks to be published in the New York World in 1920; the owner, Mrs Andrée Lardoux Hahn, sued for defamation of property in a notorious court case,[4] which involved many of the major connoisseurs of the day, inspecting the two paintings side by side at the Louvre; the case was eventually heard in New York before a jury selected for not knowing anything of Leonardo or Morellian connoisseurship, and settled for $60,000 plus court expenses, which were considerable.[6] The owner's account, Harry Hahn's The Rape of La Belle (1946) is a classic of conspiracy theory applied to the art world.

A nineteenth-century copy of La Belle Ferronnière is conserved in the Musée des beaux-arts, Chambéry.


''La belle ferronière'' Leonardo da Vinci, 1490-1495




Francis I of France

La Comtesse de Thoury

Claude de Thoury de Rohan-Gié  dite comtesse de Thoury, fut une des nombreuses et dernières maîtresses du roi François Ier. Fille de Charles de Rohan-Gié compagnon d'armes du roi à Marignan, et de Jeanne de San-Severin, elle est issue de la grande maison de Rohan qui a depuis Louis XI pris le parti de la réunification de la Bretagne à la France qui devient définitive avec le mariage de Claude de France duchesse de Bretagne, fille de Louis XII et de la duchesse Anne, avec François d'Angoulème, futur François I. Pierre de Rohan-Gié, grand-père de Claude, a été un acteur décisif de ce mariage en s'opposant aux manœuvres de la reine-duchesse Anne qui tentait de s'y opposer pour sauvegarder l'indépendance de la Bretagne. Cette belle et riche comtesse Claude de Thoury de Rohan-Gié née vers 1518-19 ne peut pas en conséquence être conviée par le roi Louis XII à rejoindre la cour de France vers 1510; dans ce cas il s'agirait d'une autre dame de Thoury ? (Il est aussi très probable que cette comtesse -maîtresse de François Ier- soit issue de la famille de Thoury du Nivernais-Bourbonnais).

Très épris, François Ier la fera comtesse de Thoury qui est le nom d'une chatellenie de son premier mari épousé en 1537 : Claude de Beauvillier, sire de Thoury par son père et comte de Saint-Aignan par sa mère née Husson. Mais il ferait surtout construire les extensions du très célèbre château de Chambord en 1540 (les armes de celle-ci figurent d'ailleurs dans le château de Chambord), afin de se rapprocher de la comtesse qui épousera en secondes noces Julien de Clermont (Clermont-Tonnerre), frère d'Antoine de Clermont, le bâtisseur du château d'Ancy-le-Franc en 1541 par Serlio, que le roi a appelé en France pour reconstruire Le Louvre, frère également de Louise de Clermont, épouse de François du Bellay qui obtiennent de Serlio des plans pentagonaux pour leur château de Maulnes, au même moment ; Ancy-le-Franc et Maulnes situés sur le comté de Tonnerre, en Champagne, maintenant dans l'Yonne.

Ce clan Rohan - Husson - Beauvillier - Clermont - Poitiers, avec Claude de Rohan jeune maîtresse de François I, Antoine favori d'Henri II, parce que beau-frère de Diane de Poitiers, et enfin Louise amie intime de la reine Catherine de Médicis et ancienne gouvernante du futur Charles IX vont monopoliser une grande partie de la faveur royale pendant 4 règnes, de 1537 à 1574, la mort de Charles IX, et être tous très actifs dans le domaine de l'architecture.

Alors que François I agglomère les terres de Thoury au domaine royal, après échange avec René de Beauvillier - Thoury qui succède à son frère Claude mort fin 1539, Claude de Rohan-Gié, et Julien de Clermont baron de Thoury son second époux, propriétaires du château de Muides-sur-Loire, font démolir par "leurs gens" un pan du mur de Chambord, parce que François Ier avait compris dans l'enceinte du parc du château une portion de leur domaine.


Claude de Thoury de Rohan-Gié,
comtesse de Thoury (anonyme du XVIe siècle)




Henry II of France

Diane de Poitiers (1499 - 1566)

Jane Fleming (or Jane Stewart) (ca 1508 - ca 1553)

Janet Stewart, Lady Fleming (or Jane, Jenny, Joan, Jean, or Johanna; c.1505 – c.1563) was an illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland who served as governess to her niece, Mary, Queen of Scots, and was briefly a mistress to Henry II of France. Her daughter, Mary Fleming, was one of the Queen's Four Maries.

James IV is known to have fathered several other royal bastards; Lady Janet Stewart was a half-sister to, among others, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray and Alexander Stewart, Lord Chancellor of Scotland. Another half-brother was James V, her father's only legitimate child to reach adulthood.

The identity of her mother is a matter of dispute. She was either Agnes or Isobel Stewart of Buchan, who were both daughters of "Hearty James" Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan, and both mistresses to James IV. Isobel (or Isabella) was born legitimately, while Agnes, the more likely candidate, was her illegitimate half-sister. Agnes was a daughter of the Earl of Buchan's mistress, Margaret, Mrs. Murray, and became the Countess of Bothwell after marrying Adam Hepburn, 2nd Earl of Bothwell. Her son from this marriage, Patrick Hepburn, would have been Lady Janet's half-brother.

Both Agnes and Isobel Stewart were distant cousins (specifically, "half-first-cousins-once-removed") of James IV by a common ancestor, Joan Beaufort, an English noblewoman with Plantagenet bloodlines.

Marriage and Issue
Lady Janet married Malcolm Fleming, 3rd Lord Fleming, even though they were related within a forbidden degree of affinity. By Lord Fleming she had six children:

James, 4th Lord Fleming. His only daughter and heiress, Jean (1554–1609), would marry John Maitland, the younger brother of William Maitland, his sister Mary's husband. His grandson by Jean was John Maitland, 1st Earl of Lauderdale.
John, 5th Lord Fleming.
Janet, m. 1st, John Livingston, eldest son of Alexander, 5th Lord Livingston and brother of Mary Livingston, one of the Queen's "Four Maries."
Agnes, m. to William, 6th Lord Livingston.
Margaret, m. 1st, to Robert Graham, Master of Montrose, by whom she had a son, John, 3rd Earl of Montrose; 2ndly, to Thomas Erskine, Master of Mar, younger brother of the 17th Earl of Mar, but had no issue; and 3rdly, John Stewart, 4th Earl of Atholl, high chancellor of Scotland, by whom she had three daughters and a son, John Stewart, 5th Earl of Atholl.
Mary, m. 6 January, 1567, to William Maitland of Lethington.

Governess, mistress to royalty
Lord Fleming was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. The next year, probably due to her membership in the royal House of Stuart, the widowed Lady Fleming became a governess to the infant Queen Mary I of Scotland. As Queen Mary was the daughter of Lady Fleming's half-brother, Lady Fleming could be considered a "half-aunt" to the Queen. Her own daughter, Mary Fleming, also joined the Queen's court as a lady-in-waiting.

They accompanied the young queen to France in 1548, and there Lady Janet attracted the attentions of King Henry II and became his lover. She became pregnant by the king and bore him an illegitimate son. Either before or after the child's birth, she was sent back to Scotland.

Her son, Henry de Valois or d'Angoulême (1551–June, 1586), was "the chief and most highly favored natural son of the King". He was legitimated and became grand prieur de France, gouverneur de Provence, et Admiral des Mers du Levant.


Diane de Poitiers


Diane de Poitiers in the nude by Francois Clouet


Diane chasseresse, tableau d'un artiste de la première école de Fontainebleau,
dont le modèle est réputé être Diane de Poitiers


Diane de Poitiers as huntress in the Salon de François Ier,
Chateau de Chenonceau in France


Diane de Poitiers


Master of the Fontainebleau School, Diane de Poitiers, c. 1590


Diane de Poitiers


Diane de Poitiers


Diane de Poitiers


The Bath of Diana
Francois Clouet


Diane de Poitiers




Henry II of France

Filippa Duci (ca 1520 - ?)

Filippa Duci (1520 en Italie- avant octobre 1586 en Touraine), dame de Coui, fille de Gian Antonio Duci, est une courtisane Piémontaise de la ville de Moncalieri, maîtresse du Dauphin Henri futur roi de France Henri II.

Lors des campagnes d'Italie, le Dauphin Henri, passe quelques nuits durant l'année 1537 chez un écuyer, frère de Filippa. Dès leur première rencontre, le roi la séduit. Elle lui donnera une fille, Diane de France, qui naît à Paris en 1538.

Cette naissance est capitale pour le dauphin (futur Henri II), car elle prouve que le roi n'est pas stérile, alors même que marié depuis cinq ans avec Catherine de Médicis, son mariage n'a pas donné d'héritier au trône.

François Ier accorde à la jeune italienne la somme de 400 livres tournois par an sur l'Ordinaire de Touraine en 1541, toute sa vie durant.
Son nom est francisé en Philippa Desducs.
Elle épouse peu après un gentilhomme italien, Jean Bernardin de Saint Severin, gentilhomme de la chambre du roi.
Lors de la légitimation de sa fille, on la dit dame de Bléré en Touraine.
En 1582, elle est dame d'honneur de la reine Catherine de Médicis.

Sa fille, Diane de France, est élevée par Diane de Poitiers qui lui donne une éducation très pointue : elle parle l'espagnol, l'italien le latin et joue de plusieurs instruments de musique.

Filippa Ducci meurt avant octobre 1586 près de Tours.




Henry II of France

Nicole de Savigny (1535 - 1590), baroness of Fontette

aus Wikipedia, der freien Enzyklopädie

Nicole de Savigny (* 1535; † 4. März 1590) war Baronin von Saint-Remy und eine Mätresse des französischen Königs Heinrich II.

Die aus einer lothringischen Familie stammende Nicole heiratete sehr jung Jean de Ville, Seigneur von Fontette, mit dem sie zwei Kinder hatte. Ihr Sohn André II. de Ville starb ohne Nachkommen, und ihre Tochter Elisabeth wurde Nonne.

Der Tod ihres Mannes 1552 machte sie mit nur 17 Jahren zur Witwe. Sie zog an den französischen Königshof und wurde dort 1556 die Mätresse Heinrichs II., bis sich dieser kaum ein Jahr später wieder Diane de Poitiers zuwandte. Aus der kurzen Beziehung ging ihr Sohn Henri de Saint-Rémi (1557−1621) hervor. Jedoch wurde er vom König nicht legitimiert, da Heinrich II. an seiner Vaterschaft zweifelte. Deswegen erhielt Henri den Beinamen Bastard von Valois. Die aus der Halsbandaffäre bekannte Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy stammt von ihm ab.

Nicole de Savigny zog sich nach dem Ende ihrer Liebesaffäre auf ihre Landgüter in Fontette zurück und machte noch einmal von sich reden, als sie versuchte, den Erzbischof von Besançon, Claude de La Baume, auf Einhaltung eines Eheversprechens zu verklagen. Diese Klage wurde aber im Dezember 1567 von der Römischen Rota abgewiesen.

Durch Nicoles am 12. Januar 1590 verfasstes Testament wird deutlich, dass Heinrich II. trotz der Zweifel an seiner Vaterschaft gut für seinen möglichen Sohn gesorgt hatte. Ein von ihm 1558 gegebenes Versprechen, Nicole 30.000 Écus sol als eine Art Mitgift für Henri zu zahlen, wurde durch König Heinrich III. im Februar 1577 eingelöst.




Charles IX of France

Marie Touchet (ca 1553 - 1638)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marie Touchet (1549 – March 28, 1638), Dame de Belleville, was the only mistress of Charles IX of France.

Humble origins, mistress to the king
Although born to a bourgeois family at Orléans, the daughter of Marie Mathy and a Huguenot lieutenant Jean Touchet "held her row at court as well as any of the first class ladies" (Le Laboureur, historian). Her anagrammed name was even Je Charme Tout (the letters I and J were then considered interchangeable) meaning "I charm all." Henry III of Navarre was responsible for this clever wordplay.

By her late teens, she was mistress to Charles IX. In 1573 she bore the king a son, Charles de Valois. It would be his only son, for just one year later the king died, at which time his and Marie's son was entrusted to the care of his younger brother and successor, Henry III of France. The new king was faithful to his dead brother's wishes and raised little Charles dutifully. Marie Touchet received a pension for her services to Charles IX, and continued as a part of the royal circle.

Marie went on to marry the marquis d'Entragues, Charles Balzac d'Entragues, and in 1579 had a daughter, Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues. Catherine Henriette would follow in her mother's footsteps, later becoming the mistress of Henry IV of France. Marie died in Paris.


Marie Touchet, mistress of Charles IX of France




Henry III of France

Louise de La Béraudière du Rouhet

Louise de La Béraudière de l'Isle Rouhet (1530 - 1586), parfois surnommée "La belle Rouhet" (nom qu'elle tenait d'une seigneurie de son père, Louis de La Béraudière), fut une dame d'honneur de Catherine de Médicis. On lui prête des aventures avec des rois de France.

D'une grande beauté, Louise de La Béraudière séduisit le roi de Navarre Antoine de Bourbon dont elle devint la maîtresse. On prétend qu'elle fut encouragée par Catherine de Médicis qui espérait ainsi faire passer ses exigences auprès d'Antoine de Bourbon par son intermédiaire. C'est ainsi qu'Antoine délaissa peu à peu l'affection de Jeanne d'Albret, sa femme, et finit par se convertir à la religion catholique. Jean Calvin, affolé de cette conversion écrivit même:

"Il est tout à Vénus, [...] la matrone, qui est éxperimentée en cet art, a extrait de son harem ce qui pouvait attraper l'âme de notre homme en ses filets."

Louise donna à Antoine en 1554 un fils, Charles de Bourbon, qui entra dans les ordres et devint archevêque de Rouen en 1594, avant d'être délaissée par lui pour la maréchale de Saint-André.

Elle quitte la cour pour le château de Coulonges-les-Royaux, dans le Poitou, où elle donne naissance à un fils, Charles, et en 1564 à une fille, Claude, qui épouse le 27 mars 1587 François IV de La Rochefoucauld. Dans sa demeure poitevine, elle reçoit plusieurs personnalités importantes tels Catherine de Médicis, Marguerite de France, Michel de Montaigne et François Rabelais. Après la mort de son mari en 1565, elle est courtisée par Brantôme, qui lui adressera quelques vers passionés:

"Je n'ai jamais, Rouet, souffert douleur pareille

Et si ai de mon sang vu la terre vermeille

De lance, arquebusade et épée en maints lieux,

Crois donc que l'on n'éprouve en guerre plaie telle

Que celle qui nous vient au cœur par les beaux yeux

d'une chaste beauté humainement cruelle"

Néanmoins, elle préfèrera accorder ses faveurs au célèbre Michel de Montaigne. La rumeur et la propagande protestante puritaine prétend que Louise de La Béraudière aurait servi à déniaiser Charles IX, mais l’historien Simonin rappelle que le retard sexuel de l'enfant roi rend impossible leur relation[3]. Plus sérieusement, elle aurait également été la maîtresse passagère du fougeux duc d'Anjou, au point d'en être enceinte. Toute sa vie durant, Louise aura de nombreux soupirants, dont Claude de Clermont, vicomte de Tallard. Une nuit que Louise était las des mots d'amours répétitifs du vicomte, elle lui aurai déclamé:

"Si vous m'aimez tant et que vous soyez si courageux que vous dites, donner vous de votre dague dans votre bras pour l'amour de moi"

Enfin, en 1580, elle rencontre Robert de Combault, seigneur d'Arcis-sur-Aube et maître d'hotel du roi, capitaine des garde de la reine, dont elle a deux filles: Claude et Louise. Mais après la mort de son fils lors d'un duel en 1586, elle disparait dans la solitude et le repentir.


Louise de La Béraudière d'après un dessin de François Clouet.




Henry III of France


Renée de Rieux de Châteauneuf  1541–1582

La Belle Chateauneuf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

La Belle Châteauneuf, the name popularly given to Renée de Rieux, daughter of Jean de Rieux, seigneur de Châteauneuf, who was descended from one of the greatest families of Brittany. The dates both of her birth and death are not known. She was maid of honor to the queen-mother Catherine de' Medici, and inspired an ardent passion in the duke of Anjou, brother of Charles IX. This intrigue deterred the duke from the marriage which it was desired to arrange for him with Elizabeth of England; but he soon abandoned Chateauneuf for Marie of Cleves (1571). The court then wished to find a husband for her, whose singular beauty gave her an influence which the queen-mother feared, and matches were in turn suggested with the voivode of Transylvania, the earl of Leicester; with Du Prat, provost of Paris, and with the count of Brienne, all of which came to nothing. Ultimately, on the ground that she had been lacking in respect towards the queen, Louise of Lorraine-Vaudmont, Renee was banished from the court. She married a Florentine named Antinotti, whom she stabbed in a fit of jealousy (1577); then she remarried, her husband being Philip Altoviti, who in 1586 was killed in a duel by the Grand Prior Henry of Angouleme, who was himself mortally wounded.


Renée de Rieux de Châteauneuf. Auteur anonyme.


Renée de Rieux de Châteauneuf,
par Louis Marie Lanté (artiste), Georges Jacques Gatine (graveur).




Henry III of France

Veronica Franco (1546 - 1591)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was an Italian poet and courtesan in 16th century Venice.

Life as a courtesan
Renaissance Venetian society recognized two different classes of courtesans: the cortigiana onesta, the intellectual courtesan, and the cortigiana di lume, lower-class courtesans (closer kin to prostitutes today) who tended to live and practice their trade near the Rialto Bridge. Veronica Franco was perhaps the most celebrated member of the former category, although Franco was hardly the only onesta in 16th-century Venice who could boast of a fine education and considerable literary and artistic accomplishments.

The daughter of another cortigiana onesta, Franco learned the art at a young age from her mother and was trained to use her natural assets and abilities to achieve a financially beneficial marriage. While still in her teens, Franco married a wealthy physician, but the union ended badly. In order to support herself, Franco turned to serving as a cortigiana to wealthy men. She quickly rose through the ranks to consort with some of the leading notables of her day and even had a brief liaison with Henry III, King of France. Franco was listed as one of the foremost courtesans of Venice in Il Catalogo di tutte le principale et piu honorate cortigiane di Venezia.

A well-educated woman, Veronica Franco wrote two volumes of poetry: Terze rime in 1575 and Lettere familiari a diversi in 1580. She published books of letters and collected the works of other leading writers into anthologies. Successful in her two lines of work, Franco also founded a charity for courtesans and their children.

In 1575, during the epidemic of plague that ravaged the city, Veronica Franco was forced to leave Venice and lost much of her wealth when her house and possessions were looted. On her return in 1577, she defended herself with dignity in an Inquisition for witchcraft trial (a common complaint lodged against courtesans in those days). The charges were dropped.

There is evidence that her connections among the Venetian nobility helped in her acquittal. Her later life is largely obscure, though surviving records suggest that although she won her freedom, she lost all of her material goods and wealth. Eventually, her last major benefactor died and left her with no financial support. Although her fate is largely uncertain, she is believed to have died in relative poverty.

Written records
In 1565, when she was about 20 years old, Veronica Franco was listed in Il Catalogo di tutte le principale e più honorate cortigiane di Venezia, which gave the names, addresses, and fees of Venice's most prominent prostitutes; her mother was listed as the person to whom the fee should be paid. From extant records, we know that by the time she was 18, Franco had been briefly married and had given birth to her first child; she would eventually have six children, three of whom died in infancy.

As one of the più honorate cortigiane in a wealthy and cosmopolitan city, Franco lived well for much of her working life, but without the automatic protection accorded to "respectable" women, she had to make her own way. She studied and sought patrons among the learned. By the 1570s, she belonged to one of the more prestigious literary circles in the city, participating in discussions and contributing to and editing anthologies of poetry.

In 1575, Franco's own volume of the poetry was published, her Terze rime, containing 18 capitoli (verse epistles) by her and 7 by men writing in her praise. That same year saw an outbreak of plague in Venice, one that lasted two years and caused Franco to leave the city and to lose many of her possessions. In 1577, she unsuccessfully proposed to the city council that it should establish a home for poor women, of which she would become the administrator. By then, she was raising not only her own children but also her nephews, who had been orphaned by the plague.

In 1580, Franco published her Lettere familiari a diversi ("Family letters to different people") which included 50 letters, as well as two sonnets addressed to King Henry III of France, who had visited her six years earlier. We have little information for her life after 1580. Records suggest that she was less prosperous in her later years but was not living in poverty. However, she published no more writings.


Veronica Franco (1575)
Jacopo Tintoretto

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Veronica Franco als Venus,1566

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