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Work Funerary monument for the heart of Duke Henri I of Longueville (1564-1595) and his son Henri II of Longueville (1595-1663)

Department of Sculptures: France, 17th and 18th centuries

Monument funéraire du coeur du duc Henri Ier de Longueville (1564 - 1593)

© 1999 RMN / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Sculptures
France, 17th and 18th centuries

Author(s):
Montalbetti Valérie

This impressive monument, topped by an obelisk over four meters high, was built as a tomb to hold the heart of the duke of Longueville, comrade-in-arms of King Henry IV of France. It is the masterpiece of François Anguier, who, along with his brother, traveled to Rome to study antiquity. The work blends the serene harmony of antique statuary with a certain lifelike fluidity.

Background history

This tomb was erected in 1661, in the Orléans chapel of the church of the Celestines in Paris, to the memory of Henri de Longueville, who died in 1595. His son (who would also be buried there) entrusted the construction to François Anguier, a sculptor who studied antiquity in Rome, where he admired the harmonious style of sculpture practiced by Algardi (1595-1654). On his return to France in 1643, he changed the conception of funerary monuments. In 1647, Anguier completed the tomb of historian Jacques de Thou (L.P. 404; L.P. 405, L.P. 406), and later created the funerary monument to Jacques de Souvré (L.P. 550).

A reinterpretation of antiquity

Mausoleum iconography was inspired by antiquity. Anguier's construction is an impressive obelisk, described as a pyramid in the 17th century because of its funerary nature. It stands on a marble pedestal decorated with arched pediments (an antique motif which was reintroduced by Italian artists during the Renaissance). On each of the four corners is a statue representing one of the cardinal virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude. Due to their aesthetic canon, drapery, and certain attributes, they have a secular nature despite their Christian significance: Justice is holding a lictor's fasces and Fortitude is dressed as Hercules, wearing a Roman breastplate with the Nemean lion's skin on her head and armed with a club. The ensemble stands on a base decorated with four bas-reliefs, each illustrating one of the virtues (the two-headed Roman god Janus, for example, corresponds to Prudence).
Greco-Roman statuary inspired the serenity of attitude, which is blended here with a certain suppleness of body and gentleness of expression. The graceful and nonchalant Prudence, for example, is charmingly reserved; with downcast eyes, she tilts her lovely face toward the mirror.

The affirmation of a family

The four sides of the black marble obelisk are decorated with white bas-reliefs. Two are adorned with the family coat of arms and with trophies glorifying the military prowess of the Longueville family; two others celebrate their culture with the attributes of the Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Sculpture is portrayed carving the bust of the duke and crushing a Gorgon's head (symbolizing the triumph of Art over Vice).
The duke fought alongside King Henry IV to reconquer the kingdom of France; two bronze bas-reliefs on the pedestal evoke glorious episodes from his military career. At the Battle of Senlis (1589), where the duke of Aumale was defeated, Longueville is portrayed on a rearing horse, charging amid a cavalry mêlée (with antique-style weapons), a bristling forest of spears in the background. At the Battle of Arques, the duke is depicted from the back in the center of the composition: a groom is restraining his horse while he talks to the mounted Henry IV.

Technical description

  • François ANGUIER (Eu, 1604 - Paris, 1669)

    Monument funéraire du coeur du duc Henri Ier de Longueville (1564 - 1593)

  • Marbre, pierre et bronze doré

    H. : 4,35 m. ; L. : 0,70 m. ; Pr. : 0,70 m.

  • Provenant du musée des Monuments français. Entré au Louvre en 1824

    M.R. 1749, M.R. 1750, M.R. 1751, M.R. 1752, M.R. 2669, M.R. 2670, M.R. 2671, M.R. 2672, M.R. 3101 A, M.R. 3373, M.R. 3374, M.R. 3101 B, M.R. 3101 C, M.R. 3099, M.R. 3100

  • Sculptures

    Richelieu wing
    Ground floor
    Anguier
    Room 18 a

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