The King’s Crooked Nose

“Is my nose crooked?” Louis XIV asked his brother, Duke of Orleans, during a sitting session with Bernini. Bernini of course was known to say that if we dump a sack of flour over our own mother, she will become unrecognizable to us. This statement was to illustrate the idea that no matter how accurately we measure, the portrait in marble has to capture something else to be convincing. This something else Bernini was trying to grasp while the king was playing tennis. During the sitting sessions the genius of baroque preferred to carve directly. He never touched the block with the chisel, the marble being of a rather mediocre quality and too fragile; besides this way it all looked more theatrical and took longer, and everyone in Paris had a chance to come see him work, the show making a big part of baroque. Finally, on 5 October 1665, when all the courtiers gathered around the king, Bernini finished the bust. Guess what he did? The pupils! The moment he incised them, the marble came alive. As for the nose, oh well, I let my reader be the judge.


About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
This entry was posted in Louis XIV. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s