A Weird Winter’s Tale

la sepulcre du Cardinal RichelieuThis story goes back to the days of the French Revolution; in December 1793 Cardinal Richelieu’s body underwent posthumous decapitation, and according to Alexandre Lenoir, the historian who tried to defend it and was poked with a bayonet, the beheaded body was thrown into a common grave, while the head passed on to a Jacobin leader, Cheval. Some seventy years later, in 1866, the mummified head was re-interred at the Sorbonne, but not before serving a painter, Bonhomé, as a model for the minister’s portrait. Still today its exact location is unknown; some sources report that the head was deposited in a secret location near the tomb, which would mean that the above sepulcher serves as container of nothing — the great void, and the little anecdote I told you.

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