Friday, 23 November 2012

The Renaissance Supermen

This portrait of Francois I at Chambord makes it clear to those of us who concentrated on English history at school and barely skimmed over the French that he is an exact contemporary of Henry VIII of England. (It helps of course to have done some costume or art history in the meantime too.) The two men were born within a few years of one another and died the same year. Neither were the expected heir to the throne when they were born. Both were very big men, physically, for their time, being 6' or more. Very sporty and active, both were handsome charmers in their youth, although increasingly crotchety with age and accumulated medical problems. They famously met on the Field of the Cloth of Gold* to cook up an alliance to keep their other great contemporary, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain, at bay.

Susan

*I have heard a story that the Cloth of Gold itself was woven in Tours, but I cannot find a reliable source for that information.

2 comments:

Tim said...

Another dandy who liked to show off his fine legs, too. Pauline

Susan said...

Pauline: well they were probably worth showing off -- no need for sawdust filled pads here I think.