Croizat-Glazer 2013

Yassana Croizat-Glazer, “Sin and Redemption in the Hours of François I (1539–40) by the Master of François de Rohan”, in: Metropolitan Museum Journal 48 (2013), p. 121 e.v.

YASSANA CROIZAT-GLAZER, Assistant Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 2011, the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts acquired a lavish book of hours made for the use of Rome for King François I (1494–1547). Of the manuscript’s ninety-three leaves, eighteen feature full-page miniatures by the Master of François de Rohan, who was active mainly in Paris between about 1525 and 1546. The humanistic script (an imitation of Roman script) is likely the work of Jean Mallard, a calligrapher and illuminator from Rouen who enjoyed royal patronage “rst in France, then in England. 1

In light of the fact that virtually nothing remains of François I’s collection of personal prayer books, the Hours of François I constitutes a key addition to the Museum’s collection of works from the French Renaissance.2
The manuscript itself is remarkable for its sumptuous decoration and the unusual imagery of two illuminations, folios 67r and 89r (Figures 1, 2), which together raise important questions about François I’s attitude toward kingship and the struggles he faced in the tumultuous period during which the book was made.


As part of his mission to enhance his kingdom’s cultural prestige and to satisfy his own intellectual curiosity, François I sought to establish new libraries as well as to expand the existing Royal Library.3 He also acquired manuscripts and printed books for his personal collection.4 Treasured as
devotional aids and luxurious objects, illuminated books of hours had been avidly collected by the nobility since the mid-thirteenth century and remained an important component of any princely library. Little is known of François I’s personal devotional books, and the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Hours of François I remain unclear. Since it did not include François I’s personal books, the inventory of the Royal Library taken at the time of its transfer from Blois to Fontainebleau in 1544 is of little help in determining whether the manuscript was ever in the king’s possession.

The fact that it depicts François and contains intercessory prayers found only in French royal manuscripts leaves no doubt as to the identity of the manuscript’s intended recipient. Moreover, the highly personal nature of some of the book’s imagery strongly suggests that it was commissioned by the king himself. The Hours of François I has recently been linked to a 1538 payment record that would con”rm the theory of a royal commission and the attribution of the script to Jean Mallard.5 The document states that
fortyfive livres were paid from the king’s account to Mallard for copying a book of hours that was presented to François I so that he could have it illuminated.6 The king would then have entrusted this task to the Master of François de Rohan no later than 1539, the year appearing in four of the miniatures’ frames (a fifth bears a date of 1540).7 The historical
record, while slim, suggests an alternate theory for the manuscript’s early history. Two later inscriptions, one pasted on the interior of the eighteenth-century leather binding and the other on the first back flyleaf, indicate that the book— mistakenly identified as a missal— belonged to Henri d’Albret, king of Navarre (r. 1518–55), François I’s brother in-law.8

The fist pastedown may once have been present on the original binding, while the second may record an earlier inscription.9 These notations raise the possibility that François gave the book to his sister, Marguerite de Navarre (1492–1549), so that she could have it illuminated and that it
subsequently remained in her possession or was reacquired by her at a later date.10 Marguerite herself is known to have employed the Master of François de Rohan, who illuminated a manuscript of her poem La Coche (1542).11

The book’s later history is far more secure. In the eighteenth century, it entered the collection of the antiquarian John Ives Jr. (1751–1776). The manuscript was subsequently acquired by the great-grandson of King Charles II (r. 1660–85) and his mistress Nell Gwyn, Topham Beauclerk (1739–1780), who purchased it at the sale of Ives’s library by Baker and Leigh, at Covent Garden, on March 3–6, 1777.12 On Beauclerk’s death, the book was sold at auction on June 6, 1781, and is next recorded in the nineteenth century as being in the possession of the greatgreat-grandfather of Colonel C. C. C. Farran, who placed it on deposit at the British Library in 1966.13 The manuscript remained there as Loan MS 58 until it was sold to H. P. Kraus through Christie’s, London, on June 24, 1987.14 After spending twenty-three years in a private American collection, the book once again appeared on the market, where it was acquired by Les Enluminures and later purchased by the museum.15


The manuscript was first published in 1967 by Janet Backhouse, who referred to the anonymous artist as the Master of François I.16 François Avril, Conservateur général honoraire of the Bibliothèque Nationale de
France, later renamed him after miniatures from the Fleur de Vertu (Figure 3), which was translated by the archbishop of Lyons, François de Rohan.17 In her definitive 1998 study on the artist, Myra Orth attributed eighteen
manuscripts and four printed books to the master as well as his sizable workshop and speculated that many more works had yet to be identi”ed.18 In the artist’s preference for sturdy “gures, outlandish costumes, and
cramped, crowded spaces, Orth recognized the influence of printed books from Germany and especially Basel, which led her to suggest that the master may have originated in those parts.

The Museum’s manuscript contains ten opulent examples with lively Renaissance details and copious use of shell gold. Swirling forms of dolphins and arabesques abound, as do playful putti with buoyant bodies and architectural components painted to imitate stones such as colored
marble and lapis lazuli.

In addition to delighting the eye, the frames include details that enrich the significance of the scenes they border. References to the Passion appear in the fanciful architecture surrounding the Annunciation to the Shepherds
(Figure 4), so that the reader’s contemplation of this joyous event would have been tempered by the remembrance of Christ’s future suffering. With its shaft in the form of twisting branches, the column on the left calls to mind the Crown of Thorns, while the colorful one on the right, adorned with the head of a ram (a pagan image and symbol of sacrifice), evokes the column used in Christ’s flagellation. The theme of sacrifice extends to the frieze of golden sheep resting on the cornice at the top. The relationship between border and central scene reaches a new level of interactivity in folio 55r (Figure 5), which depicts the Flight into Egypt and related
apocryphal stories, such as that of the pagan statue toppling from its base in response to the Christ Child’s appearance.

A detail in the frame’s right pier further underscores the power of Jesus’s presence: a gilded putto responds to him by kneeling and clasping his hands in prayer. Instead of an architectural frame, folio 5r, which shows Saint John the Evangelist writing his Gospel on Patmos (Figure 6), features a candelabra border populated with fantastic half-horse figures, putti supporting platters of fruit, and other playful grotesques.20 The remainder of the book contains floral borders, a convention of Flemish origin favored by Jean Bourdichon (1457–1521) and his French followers but rarely used by the master. The scatter border of folio 7r (Figure 7) contains the manuscript’s greatest variety and concentration of vegetation. The flowers and plants depicted serve both decorative and symbolic functions, such as the roses and columbines that represent the Virgin’s awlessness and sorrow, respectively, along with the strawberry plant that refers to her perfection and purity.21 These oral elements relate closely to the manuscript’s only historiated initial: an Annunciation scene in which the Virgin is separated from Gabriel by an “I” that has been transformed
into a decorated column.22

The Hours of François I reveal the Master of François de Rohan’s penchant for stout figures with gentle expressions and almond-shaped eyes that droop slightly. They inhabit either verdant landscapes in which atmospheric perspective is used heavily or stylish interiors with luxurious trappings, such as Saint Luke’s elaborately carved chair (Figure 7) or the Annunciation scene’s checkered marble floor (Figure 8). For the master, conveying a sense of intimacy and comfort clearly took precedence over achieving spatial clarity. This propensity is especially apparent in the marvelously claustrophobic interior depicted in folio 11r (Figure 9), where the window is tilted at an odd angle and objects have an uneasy relationship to one another. More dramatic scenes, like the Annunciation to
the Shepherds (Figure 4), showcase the master’s preference for communicating excitement by using !gures that perform jerky, almost puppetlike movements— a tendency that also surfaces in his woodcuts (Figure 10).23 Color, too, imparts tension. Instead of the cool palette favored by Parisian illuminators, the Master of François de Rohan relied on warm earth tones, often juxtaposing discordant shades to convey an emotionally charged atmosphere.24

Such is the case in the Crucifixion scene, where the sky ranges disconcertingly from pale ocher to ink blue, or in the Coronation of the Virgin (Figure 11), in which the heavens glow with rainbow colors in celebration of her triumph.
Throughout the manuscript, highlights are achieved by means of thin, agitated lines that trace contours or are arranged in weblike patterns with varying degrees of concentration (Figure 12).

As was typical for private devotional books, the Hours of François I was customized to reflect the identity of its prestigious owner.25 The Annunciation’s border comprises a shield with the French royal arms (three gold fleurs-de-lis before an azure background) (Figure 8).26
Another fleur-de-lis appears in the frame surrounding the Adoration of the Magi (Figure 13), as does a salamander, François’s emblem. The caryatids are faintly evocative of the stucco nudes from the Galerie François I at
the king’s favorite château, Fontainebleau.27 The manuscript also contains two highly personal illuminations, which respectively show François in the guise of David (Figure 1) and as himself kneeling before Saint Marcouf
(Figure 2).


Folio 67r (Figure 1) introduces the Seven Penitential Psalms, which are recited for repentance and to help one avoid committing a deadly sin.28 Their author, King David, is depicted in two distinct episodes viewed through a golden arch supported by a fanciful arrangement of colorful columns and piers. In the foreground, David adopts a penitent pose as he is visited by an angel in the sky. Beneath him appears a trompe l’oeil cartouche inscribed with the opening verses of Psalm 6. In the distance, at the window of his classically inspired palace, David spies on Bathsheba as she bathes in a fountain. Despite her slight size, she conforms to contemporary ideals of beauty through her long, golden hair and slender body with small, perfectly spherical breasts.29 Bathsheba is approached by her attendant, whose height can hardly be accommodated by the portico through which she must pass to deliver a bowl of sweetmeats to her mistress.30 The courtyard is also occupied by a messenger, whom David will soon send to fetch Bathsheba, thereby initiating their adulterous relationship. It will lead to her pregnancy and the death of her husband, Uriah, whom the king murders in an attempt to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11).

By the early sixteenth century, David spying on Bathsheba had become a popular image for introducing the Penitential Psalms in books of hours.31 As such, the scene was frequently depicted by the Master of François de Rohan and his workshop. In the Hours of Saulx-Tavannes miniature (Figure 14), Bathsheba occupies a fountain set at an angle in the foreground, while David, mirroring the viewer, watches her from his window.32 A similar arrangement occurs in folio 77r of a tiny book of hours for the use of Sarum illuminated by the master in 1532 (Figure 15), slightly earlier than the Saulx-Tavannes hours.33 In each case, Bathsheba is turned so that David can see her but it is the reader who is rewarded with an unobstructed view of her body and a privileged proximity to her nudity. Variations on this formula frequently appear in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century French books of hours, such as the Hours of Louis XII (Figure 16), where Bathsheba’s marmoreal flesh is displayed in a manner that primarily satisfies the reader’s gaze. As Thomas Kren has argued, while Louis XII (r. 1498–1515) was likely aware of the different spiritual and moral significances attached to Bathsheba, Jean Bourdichon’s eroticizing depiction of her can also be interpreted as an attempt to appeal to the king’s libidinous side.34 Intimate and portable, the book of hours provided the ideal context for Bourdichon’s tantalizing Bathsheba, who could be held close and carefully studied.

Folio 79r (Figure 16) from the Hours of Louis XII constitutes a particularly successful— and audacious— example of the type of sensual imagery commissioned by Valois rulers. The trend culminated during the rule of Louis XII’s son-in-law, François I, who avidly collected and commissioned representations of female nudes and other erotically charged works. Those wishing to enter into his good graces or repay a kindness often relied on gifts of this nature, such as the Marquis of Mantua, Francesco II Gonzaga (1466–1519), who sent him a painting by Lorenzo Costa (ca. 1537–1583) of a nude Venus holding a cornucopia and unabashedly gazing at the viewer.35 On January 4, 1519, Federico de’ Preti presented the panel to François on the marquis’s behalf, together with a letter in which Francesco addressed the king as a “great and good judge of bodily beauty.”

The Mantuan ambassador recorded the king’s reaction in a letter:

He liked it very much and never tired of looking at it, and told me that he thanks your lordship a thousand times. He had it taken immediately to the Queen [Claude de France] and the Queen-Mother [Louise de Savoie] and had them see it, and they praised it highly. His majesty the king asked me if it was one of Madame’s [Isabella d’Este’s] women, drawn from life, and I said I did not know. The king showed it to all these lords and gentleman.36

The knowledge that this alluring Venus’s face was drawn from life would have opened the possibility, however remote, that her nude body also reflected a specific reality; the king could thus have the thrill of owning a representation of a Mantuan court lady he might never meet yet had the impression of knowing intimately. Diplomatic correspondence further reveals that the king did not limit himself to enjoying the sight of painted nudes.

In a letter dated June 18, 1540, the Ferrarese ambassador Carlo Sacrati reported to Ercole II d’Este the following encounter, which took place in Fontainebleau’s Roman-style baths and cast François and his companions in the role of the spying David:

I have learned from M. Tommaso del Vecchio that the day when His Majesty arrived at Fontainebleau in the evening, Madame Marguerite and Madame d’Etampes with Madame de Rothelin and two other ladies were in the baths and His Majesty, accompanied by his lordship the constable [Anne de Montmorency], his lordship the Cardinal of Lorraine [Jean de Lorraine] and our lordship the Cardinal [Ippolito d’Este] went there and found them naked, and stayed there to jest for a long while.37

Among the ladies in attendance was the king’s official mistress, the duchesse d’Etampes (1508–1576), whose body François once compared to that of the Cnidian Aphrodite after seeing a bronze copy of the sculpture.38

In light of the king’s appreciation of nude female bodies, both real and artistically fashioned, it is surprising that the Hours of François I does not introduce the Psalms with a composition featuring a large figure of Bathsheba bathing in the foreground, given the numerous royal precedents for this iconographic formula and its employment in other books of hours attributed to the Master of François de Rohan. The relegation of David spying on Bathsheba to the background is unusual, as is the juxtaposition with the foreground David in penitence, one of the scenes most frequently used to introduce the Penitential Psalms in books of hours.39

Combining the two subjects on the same page creates a
tension that the artist enhanced by placing both “gures at
either end of the same diagonal axis and having them face
each other. The Old Testament king’s double incarnations
seem aware of each other, even as they focus on different
subjects, the nude (carnal) Bathsheba and the (spiritual)
angel. Mirroring one another, both Davids perform a similar gesture but with a divergent meaning, underscoring
the temporal and psychological divide that separates
them. The spying king raises his hand in excitement, while his future self does so in humble supplication. Symbol of
earthly power, the scepter brandished by David at his
balcony lies discarded in the foreground next to a harp
with ten strings propped against the forecourt’s wall.40 The
penitent king’s hand hovers near the golden instrument,
thus alluding to his spiritual role as composer of the
Psalms— a role overtly celebrated in the border’s jewel-like

Possessing thick lips, a large, slightly sagging eye, and a long, hooked nose with a prominent bump, the penitent David in pro”le bears a strong resemblance to portraits of François I (Figure 17a–d).42 That François would recognize himself in David is confirmed by his French royal garb: a
blue ermine robe with a fleur-de-lis pattern. François wears the same attire in a portrait of him as David in a miniature from the Hours of Catherine de Medici (Figure 18).43 While the latter corresponds to a formal exaltation of François’s royal qualities, his representation as David in Figure 1 serves a more complex function— one predicated on the importance and nature of vision in religious devotion.

The composition establishes different “hierarchies of
vision,” to borrow Patricia Rubin’s term, which are central
to both the image’s organization and its interpretation.44 The
background of Figure 1 focuses on the subject of corporeal
sight, illustrated by means of David’s looking at a tangible
object— the bathing Bathsheba. Spiritual perception, which
requires using the eyes of the soul rather than those of the
body, is evoked in the foreground through the representation of David gazing at the angel of the Lord. The transition
from background to foreground thus reflects David’s progression from using a form of vision that stems from earthly desire and remains on the surface of concrete things to
employing one that transcends the physical realm and leads
to salvation. The move from lowest to highest level of sight
evoked in the image would have paralleled François I’s own
viewing experience of the illumination. Beholding the picture as an object using physical sight would have triggered
the king’s memory and imagination, opening the path for
him to see beyond the representational world.45 Looking
at the image of himself as David, as opposed to a generic portrayal of the Old Testament king, would have facilitated
this cognitive process as it would have encouraged François
to entertain a closer connection to David and his actions.
Regarded as an exemplary ruler and an admirable composer, David had long occupied a prominent position in
French ceremonial life, from triumphal entries to masquerades, and François was frequently associated with the Old Testament king throughout his reign.46 As early as 1515,
Louise de Savoie (1476–1531) commissioned a paraphrased
version in French of Psalm 26 for her son’s use following his
victory at Marignano.47 The manuscript features twenty
images in roundels, each with an interpretation of the verse
below— a scheme pre!guring the emblem book. In folio 1v,
the young king kneels humbly as an angel carrying a sword
visits him— an iconographic formula that recalls images of
David in penance (Figure 19). In this case, however, the angel
brings protection, a fact emphasized by the interpretative
line, which states that the king recited the verse after recognizing that the sword of God was approaching to defend him on September 14 (the second day of the battle). The manuscript’s opening lines reveal the book’s purpose, to teach the king about Psalm 26— as well as Louise de Savoie’s continued hands-on approach to her son’s education:

The xiith day of February one thousand five hundred and sixteen at Horiol [Loriol] on the river Drome, Madame was spiritually compelled to make her humility speak to the obedience of the King her son, and to beg him that for devout Oration he should take Psalm XXVI, which is suitable to him. . . . And it would be most pro!table to him, if at the request of the Lady he loves so, he were to sing and to say like David: Dominus Illuminatio mea, et salus mea, quem timebo? [The Lord is my light and my savior, whom could I fear?]48

Louise thus encouraged her son to emulate David by commissioning a text that linked the Psalms to the battle of Marignano, François’s greatest military triumph. A few years later, Guillaume Michel published Le Penser de royal mémoire (1518), an entreaty to the king to embark on a crusade against the Turks.49 The text contains four epistles addressed to François I by David, who offers him his harp (to heal and bring harmony to his kingdom) and sling (to defeat the infidels), and instructs him on how to become the Tenth Worthy— a goal, the reader is told, the French ruler is very close to achieving thanks to the many qualities he shares with the Old Testament king.50 Even after François’s death, the link between him and David persisted, as attested by a carved image of François in the guise of the Old Testament king on the choir stall of Auch Cathedral.51

While in the carving and the illumination from the Hours of Catherine de Medici, François is depicted as David in an upright pose holding the Old Testament king’s attributes, in the Museum’s book of hours he kneels with his gaze lifted toward the sky (Figure 1). Close inspection reveals that the
angel who appears to him carries a skull, a sword, and a scourge, all conventions derived from the story of David’s other major transgression: committing the sin of pride, recounted in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21.52 The objects represent divine punishments for the Israelites (famine, war, and plague) from which David must choose one for angering God by taking a census of his army without the Lord’s permission. The king settled on pestilence, but on seeing his people die, begged God to spare them and punish him instead.

At least as early as the eleventh century, the angel bearing God’s trio of retributions was incorporated into imagery pertaining to the story of David and Bathsheba, specially the moment when the repentant David kneels before the prophet Nathan, who rebukes him for committing adultery
and murder (2 Samuel 12).53 Rather than a deliberate link between the two events, this con$ation was likely a case of artistic misappropriation. The Hours of François I’s representation of David kneeling before the angel holding the three symbols of divine justice may therefore have been
intended simply as an image of David repenting for the sin
of adultery, thereby connecting the folio’s background and
foreground scenes.

A learned sixteenth-century audience, however, would have been familiar with the original meaning of the angel’s attributes and their association with the census story. David as portrayed in the foreground of folio 67r (Figure 1) was thus likely meant to be understood as repenting for both his
pride and his adultery. That the initial significance of the angel bearing three choices was still resonant in sixteenthcentury France is evidenced by the subject’s treatment in a book of hours (the so-called Heures de 1525) (Figure 20), published by Geoffroy Tory (ca. 1480–1533) with a royal privilege granted by François I.54 This widely circulated and highly influential book played a key role in introducing Renaissance aesthetics to France’s nascent printing industry.

Replete with classicizing details, folio N4r shows David in
a hair shirt and toga kneeling before an angel, who takes the
form of a nude putto holding a scourge, a sword, and an
arrow (here replacing the skull).55 Lingering near the fountain is a devil, a likely reference to the story of David taking
the census as recounted in 1 Chronicles 21, in which Satan
incites the king to commit the sin.56

It is also worth noting that folio N4R of the Heures de 1525 was a source for an illumination by the Master of François de Rohan and his assistants for a manuscript probably made for Jacques Aubry, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Pierre de Lagny (Figure 21).57 The miniature owes much to the illustration from Tory’s book, including a now barely detectable devil. The master’s style is evident in several details, such as the wiry hairs of the Old Testament king’s beard and the fact that the angel— here given a more traditional appearance— holds a skull rather than an arrow.58 The folio also repeats the cartouche inscribed with the word “Peccavi” (I have sinned), which hangs above David. In the Hours of François I, the same vertical alignment is used to express the relationship between (past) transgression and (present) atonement, but with a sophisticated twist. Bathsheba has taken the place of the inscription, her nude body functioning as a metonym for sin. It is in this capacity that the figure should be read rather than as an invitation to the king to indulge in the role of voyeur, as would have been a large, seductive nude in the manner of Bourdichon’s Bathsheba.

Instead, in Figure 1, the main body on which François was meant to cast a lingering look is the one prominently displayed in the foreground: his own in the guise of the remorseful David, cloaked in a heavy royal mantle and all the responsibilities it carries. In this figure, François was to find an exemplar on which to model his own devotional behavior, while in the spying David, he was to find an acknowledgment of the Old Testament king’s— and by extension his own— flawed nature.

The relationship between both incarnations is worth considering in connection to François’s words penned in response to his sister’s comparison of him to David as a prefiguration of Christ in an epistle dated 1543 (59):

Not am I to the good David similar
Of whom the heart to God was agreeable
I am a sinner, and this I confess
To recognize it is my only redemption.60

Rather than merely alluding to David/François as sinner, Figure 1 explicitly depicts him in this capacity; the background can thus be understood as the confession that is necessary to the success of the act of penance in the foreground.

By offering an overt admission of David/François’s imperfection, the illumination would have become all the more effective as a tool for helping the king overcome his weakness through prayer. Such a personal image is unlikely to have been commissioned by anyone other than François himself.


The iconographic origin of the angel bearing God’s punishments is worth considering more closely in relation to the Hours of François I. Pestilence plays a key role in the story of David’s taking the census of his army. In both versions of the episode, David, on seeing his people die, implored God to save them and strike him and his kin instead, to which the Lord responded by ending the plague. The repentant David thus saved the Israelites from illness by interceding with God on their behalf. The story offers an interesting parallel to the royal practice of touching for scrofula (a form of
tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes, then known as “the king’s evil”), which is the focus of folio 89r of the Hours of François I.

By the fourteenth century, it had become customary for newly anointed French kings to make a pilgrimage to Corbeny to venerate the relics of Saint Marcouf and, through this act, to obtain the ability to heal scrofula with their touch.61 Curing this illness constituted a particularly important aspect of royal ceremony during François I’s reign. To underscore the ritual’s sacred dimension, the king would take communion, after which he would touch a patient’s sore and then cross himself.62 Partial records reveal that in 1528, François touched at least 1,326 people; the following year, more than 988 and the year after that, at least 1,731.63

In addition to the traditional pilgrimage following his coronation, the king is also known to have made other trips to Corbeny to venerate Marcouf’s relics. Eager to disseminate his almighty image abroad, François even demonstrated his special powers when traveling to Bologna as a guest of
Pope Leo X in December 1515 (64).

Folio 89r (Figure 2) shows François I in a fur-lined gown and slashed doublet kneeling before the saint, a sixthcentury abbot of Nantus.65 Marcouf’s thaumaturgic powers are brought to life in the background, where he is shown preparing to rid a man of his af”iction while another patient awaits his turn. The scene unfolds above François I, thereby evoking the miraculous powers of his royal touch, which stem from his veneration of Marcouf and, by extension, of God.66 The connection between Marcouf and François is further reinforced through the words inscribed on the scroll supported by the herculean putto at the bottom of the frame: “Morbus · Permanere · Non · Potuit · Talis · Medicus · Manum · Misit” (illness cannot endure where, like a doctor, he places his hand), a statement that applies to both saint and king. The theme of salvation extends to the frame where gourds and a cucumber, symbols of the Resurrection, hang from vines on a column.67 Folio 89r thus evokes the positive consequences resulting from this devotion to Marcouf.

Contemplating the illumination as François prayed to the saint would have reinforced the meaningfulness and ef!cacy of his devotional act, which would have been central to helping him maintain his curative powers. The series of prayers devoted to Saint Marcouf that is introduced by folio 89r occurs in only one known earlier manuscript: a book of hours also made for François I, which has led to the plausible suggestion that the texts were originally written for him.68

The Hours of François I’s two most personal illuminations thus deal with the subject of illness. As Christine Boeckl remarks in her study on the iconography and iconology of pestilence, David “was the most important biblical figure associated with pestilence,” an idea central to understanding the significance of folio 67r (Figure 1) and its relationship to folio 89r (Figure 2).69 The presence of the angel bearing God’s three choices evokes the king’s willingness to atone for his transgressions and his desire to save his people from pestilence by sacrificing himself— a prefiguration of Christ’s own sacrifice. A counterpart to François-as-David kneeling humbly before the angel is thus provided in the figure of François-as-himself kneeling humbly before Saint Marcouf in folio 89r. Both images evoke the theme of a king acting as a mediator between the earthly and the spiritual realms to ensure his people’s salvation from illness.

The contemplation of one illumination was surely intended to
bring the other to mind, thereby heightening the experience
of spiritual meditation.


The iconography of both folios bears further significance considering the period in which the Hours of François I was made. As its diminutive scale suggests, the scene of David spying on Bathsheba was not used as an excuse to offer an alluring image of female sexuality, as it had been in other
manuscripts. Rather, the vignette insists on adultery as David’s crucial sin and balances the depiction of that offense with scenes emphasizing his positive qualities: David repenting and playing the harp, the music of which was understood to bring harmony and healing.70 The message of folio 67r would surely have struck a chord in François, about whom the Marshal of France, Gaspard de Saulx-Tavannes, once said: “Alexander [the Great] sees women when he has no business, François tends to business when he has no women to see.”71

Although François evidently had several affairs, Anne de Pisseleu (1508–1576) entertained a privileged relationship with the king from the time she met him in 1526 as an eighteen-year-old lady-in-waiting to the duchesse de Vendôme, Marie de Luxembourg.72 A few years later, François made Anne a duchess by awarding her and her new husband, Jean de Brosse, the county of Etampes and elevating it to ducal status. As she was trusted and deeply admired by the king, Anne’s power grew steadily, reaching its apogee during the #nal years of François’s rule. The start of this phase of heightened political visibility coincided with the years in which the Hours of François I was created (1539–40). The period was also one of great uneasiness as François sought to expand his hegemony by attempting to improve relations with his enemy and former captor Charles V (1500–1558)— a mission doomed to failure.73

Contemporary correspondence reveals that Anne was often singled out as the greatest influence on François I in matters of state. Writing in August 1540, the imperial ambassador François Bonvalot, abbot of Saint-Vincent, described the duchess as the “head” of the king’s private council, while a
few months later the papal nuncio reported her power was “omni exceptione major.”74 Even Marguerite de Navarre, who was very close to her brother, approached the duchess to appeal to François when the Constable Anne de Montmorency (1493–1567) attempted to discredit her, as she informed the Duke of Norfolk.75 The duchess’s outspoken attitude and clout raised eyebrows— if not virulent criticism— and fueled the rancor of her detractors. Chief among them was the constable, whose fall from grace she precipitated by fanning the flames of discontent over his strategy of rapprochement with Charles V, a tactic that failed miserably and was quickly labeled as self-motivated.

According to Sir John Wallop, the English ambassador, in December 1540, François declared to the constable: “I can fynd but one fault in you: wiche is that you do not love those that I do”— a reference to the Duchesse d’Etampes, or so the English ambassador inferred.76

The statement suggests that for all the accusations of treason leveled against Anne de Montmorency in this period, it was the constable’s inability to maintain good relations with the duchess that disappointed François the most. Folio 67r, with its tiny nude Bathsheba serving as a metonym for sin, was thus produced at a time when the duchess’s status as official mistress grew in importance, a phenomenon frequently disparaged by observers. While François I was clearly committed to her, it is difficult to imagine that he was indifferent to the criticism and burgeoning conflicts provoked by their relationship, as suggested by his response to Anne de Montmorency.

The Psalms preoccupied the king at the time his book of hours was created. With the hope of cementing their new— and still very tentative— friendship, François I invited Charles V to travel through France in 1539–40 in order to reach the Low Countries more speedily to quash a tax revolt.77 In honor of this momentous occasion, François asked the court poet Clément Marot (1496–1544) to present the emperor with a copy of his translations of the Psalms in January 1540.78 Marot dedicated his text to François in an epistle that compared his king’s virtues and achievements to those of David. Recovering from a grave illness, François was unable to meet Charles on his arrival at Bayonne but more than made up for this misfortune by organizing a series of dazzling festivities in Paris and Fontainebleau.79

On Christmas Day, Charles had the opportunity to witness François in his capacity as royal healer, as the king touched for scrofula near the pond at Fontainebleau.80 Besides being a royal duty that François took very seriously, this act must have been intended to impress Charles, who lacked similar powers. In fact, Charles’s own people routinely crossed into France to be healed by François, and after the latter was taken captive following the battle of Pavia in 1525 and brought to Madrid, crowds of ailing Spaniards flocked to him to be cured— a sight that must have been difficult for the emperor to stomach.81

The period in which the Hours of François I was made was thus marked by two significant and linked events: the growing political visibility of Anne de Pisseleu and the king’s attempt to establish an alliance with his long-standing enemy, Charles V. One can understand why François, caught in delicate political maneuvers and deeply involved with his mistress, might have wished to see himself portrayed as he is in folio 67r (Figure 1).82 At the same time that it would have encouraged him to confront David’s— and by extension his own— shortcomings, the image would have reminded him of the proper path to take to atone for his transgressions: repentance, self-sacrifice, and exercise of his powers to heal. The experience of contemplating the illumination would have been amplified by simultaneously pondering the verses introduced by the image. In Psalm 6,
David implores God to cure his own ailing body and bring down his enemies, words that surely would have resonated with François at a point when he had suffered numerous near-fatal maladies and political tensions were running high. From there, a short mental leap would have been
required to reach folio 89r (Figure 2) and its prayers, which focus on the very powers that separated François from other rulers— most notably Charles V. Folios 67r and 89r allude to the fact that like David and Marcouf, François had the ability to heal others, but this gift, as well as the soundness of his own health, was predicated on his devotion.

Studying the Hours of François I would have helped to nurture the king’s faith and, by extension, his ability to sustain his kingdom.


A final word must be said on the relationship of the Hours of François I to a small psalter made for and annotated by his longtime rival and occasional ally, Henry VIII (r. 1509–47).83 The psalter was copied and in all likelihood
also illuminated by Mallard, whom English royal accounts from 1539 to 1541 describe as an “orator in the French tongue.”84 Henry is heralded as “another king David” in Mallard’s dedicatory letter and portrayed as the Old
Testament ruler in several illuminations.85 Of particular interest is folio 79r (Figure 22), which introduces Psalm 68— David’s plea to God to save him from his enemies.

Although sparser, the miniature shares much with folio 67r (Figure 1). Henry VIII in the guise of David occupies a similarly conceived space, but the portico in the background of folio 67r has been replaced by the remains of a basilica, and the palace wall on the right by classicizing ruins. Once again, an angel bathed in golden light appears carrying the three divine retributions, but nowhere is the king portrayed spying on Bathsheba. The omission is noteworthy given that, like François, Henry was a womanizer, and one whose multiple marriages had profound consequences for his kingdom.

Thus, even in a book intended for his private devotional use— a context in which one might expect Henry to have been willing to confront his vulnerability— a conscious decision was made not to portray David committing the sin of adultery. Instead, the folio focuses on the Old Testament king’s anguish as a prefiguration of Christ’s torment in the
Garden of Gethsemane, a fact that is confirmed by the marginal annotation in Mallard’s hand that reads: “Christus in Angustia mortis invocat Deum” (in his distress Christ invokes God).86 Associating himself with David in this manner was consistent with Henry VIII’s broader mission to define himself as a Christic king in the period following his break with the Catholic Church.87

In such an image, there was no room for a blatant reference to David lusting after Bathsheba, especially considering the fact that Henry entered into his fourth and fifth marriages in the year the psalter was likely made (88).

Within a very short period, François I and Henry VIII each had himself portrayed as David in a private devotional book. Both men were by then mature monarchs who had experienced their fair share of failure and illness. They were clearly conscious of their mortality and weary of their enemies (including each other). Recognized as a precursor of Christ and praised for his military excellence and artistic merit, David provided both rulers with a comforting and powerful model on which to rely as each sought, in his own way, to reshape the institution of kingship. The absence of overt references to Bathsheba in folio 79r of Henry’s psalter not only made it possible for the monarch to avoid dwelling on a painful subject but also directed his focus toward a more immediate relationship with God. Stripped of superuous details and moving away from a strong emphasis on sin, folio 79r corresponded to new Reformation ideals championed by Henry following his break with Rome.

Meanwhile, by contemplating himself in the role of David in folio 67r, François, who still embraced the Catholic faith, could have safely reflected on his own imperfections, most notably his predilection for adultery, reassured that even the most righteous of kings could sin before God and still find redemption. This glimpse into his vulnerable side is only one of many aspects that make the Hours of François I such an important addition to the Museum’s collection of works pertaining to this great French Renaissance patron.


I am deeply grateful to the members of the Journal’s Editorial Board, particularly Luke Syson, as well as to James D. Draper, James P. Carley, and Joshua Glazer for their invaluable comments and suggestions. I also thank the following individuals for their kind assistance: Elizabeth H. Block, Elizabeth Cleland, Kamilah Foreman, Sandra Hindman, Melanie Holcomb, Carol H. Krinsky, Sarah Mallory, Andrea Rico, Perrin Stein, Sally Van Devanter, Yana van Dyke, Ian Wardropper, Roger S. Wieck, and Elizabeth Zechella.


  1. Sandra Hindman and Ariane Bergeron-Foote were the first to
    advance this attribution, partly because of the manuscript’s similarity to the Psalter of Henry VIII, which was copied and illuminated by Jean Mallard (British Library, London [hereafter BL], Royal
    2 A XVI; Figure 22 in the present essay). By 1538, Mallard was
    serving as “escripvain” to François I, for whom he executed two
    codices of the Premier livre de la Description de tous les portz de
    mer de l’univers (Bibliothèque National de France, Paris, [hereafter
    BNF], MS fr. 1382 and 25375). From 1539 to 1541, Mallard was
    recorded as “orator in the French tongue” in the royal accounts of
    Henry VIII. For more on Mallard’s life and career in both France
    and England, see Cooper 2003, pp. 197–212; Carley 2009, vol. 1,
    pp. 44–58; and Carley n.d. (forthcoming).
  2. An unfinished book of hours for François I is preserved in the
    British Library (Add. MS 18853); see Backhouse 1967, pp. 91–93.
    The only other extant Horae that has been linked to François I is
    the Hours of Catherine de Medici (BNF, MS NAL 82), which is
    believed to have been begun for the king, but its history remains
    fraught with uncertainty.
  3. By the time François I ascended to the throne in 1515, Louis XII had
    reunited at Blois the Orléans family collection, Charles VIII’s
    library (formerly located at Amboise), and the books seized from
    the Visconti-Sforza library during the Italian campaigns of 1499
    and 1500. The !rst inventory of the Royal Library at Blois dates to
    1518 and lists 1,626 manuscripts and printed books, of which the
    vast majority was in Latin. In addition to the works of classical
    authors such as Plato, Aristotle, and Homer, the library contained
    scientific and religious texts, hunting manuals, and medieval
    romances. During his reign, François I increased its holdings in
    a variety of languages, including Greek and Hebrew and especially Italian. An ordinance dated 1537 made it mandatory for
    printers to send a copy of every new text to Blois, although
    the mandate was not strictly followed. François also sent literary
    agents to Italy and the Near East to !nd manuscripts, particularly
    in Greek. An inventory of the Royal Library at the time that it was
    transferred to Fontainebleau in 1544 lists 1,893 volumes, a number
    that does not reflect the king’s personal collection. In addition to
    expanding the library, the king planned to found another one in
    Paris (for the Collège des Lecteurs Royaux)— although this was
    never realized— and had a portable library that traveled with him.
    For more on François I’s contribution to the Royal Library and
    book collecting, see Knecht 1994, pp. 471–77; Coron 1995;
    Knecht 2008, pp. 206–10; for the 1518 inventory, see Omont
    1908–21 vol. 1, pp. 3–56.
  4. Unfortunately, no inventory survives of François I’s personal library,
    which would have contained— among other texts— the manuscripts
    and books he inherited from his parents, Charles d’Angoulême and
    Louise de Savoie. See Baurmeister 1988, pp. 375–77.
  5. Hindman and Bergeron-Foote 2010b, n.p.
  6. The document, which was first published in Laborde 1855, p. 924,
    reads: “A Jehan Mallart, escripvain, pour avoir escript unes heures
    en parchemin, présentées au Roy pour les faire enlumyner, en don,
    à prendre sur les deniers de l’espargne à l’entour du roi, xlv liv[res]”
    (To Jehan Mallart, scribe, for having copied the hours on parchment, presented to the king to have them illuminated, as payment,
    to be taken from the deniers of the accounts of the king, xlv livres).
    See also Cooper 2003, p. 199.
  7. The year 1539 appears in the frames of folios 13r, 21r, 36r, and 47r;
    1540, in folio 51r.
  8. The supralibros on the front marbled pastedown reads: “Missal
    de Henry de Albret Roy de Navarre.” The inscription on the
    label affixed to the first back flyleaf states: “This missal was
    Henry of Albrets [sic] King of Navarre [afterwards Henry IV of
    France] who married Margaret of Valois in 1527.” The incorrect
    information contained within the brackets was written in a different and presumably later hand; see Hindman and Bergeron-Foote
    2010b, n.p.
  9. Ibid., n.p.
  10. Ibid. The manuscript lacks a calendar, a standard feature of books
    of hours. While this omission may have been intentional, it might
    also point to a more complex history surrounding the book’s
  11. Musée Condé, Chantilly, MS 522 (XIV B 31). Narrated by Marguerite
    de Navarre, La Coche is devoted to the subject of female friendship
    and solidarity. Inspired by Alain Chartier’s Livre des quatres dames
    (ca. 1514), the poem relates how three women hurt by love
    approach Marguerite, who agrees to hear their plights and comforts them. A storm forces them to take cover in Marguerite’s
    coach, which brings them back to court, where she presents
    the poem to François I’s official mistress— and her ally— the
    duchesse d’Etampes, Anne de Pisseleu (fol. 43v). Several copies
    of the Chantilly manuscript survive, including one in Oxford
    (Bodleian Library, MS Douce 91), which is the work of one of the
    master’s assistants. On the Master of François de Rohan’s illuminations for La Coche, see Thierry Crépin-Leblond in Auclair et al.
    2001, pp. 50–55; see also Lindquist 2004; Hindman and BergeronFoote 2010b.
  12. Lot 650 (£10 15s.). The auction catalogue mistakenly identified
    François I in folio 89r as King Henry IV. See Backhouse 1967, p. 96,
    nos. 22, 23.
  13. Backhouse 1967, p. 96, no. 23. Beauclerk’s library, the Bibliotheca
    Beauclerkiana, was sold by Samuel Paterson, London, April 9–
    June 6, 1781. The Hours of François I was lot 3296. Colonel Farran
    related to Backhouse that his grandfather brought the manuscript
    to Australia, where it remained until 1965.
  14. Lot 265.
  15. Sale, Christie’s, London, July 7, 2010, lot 47.
  16. Backhouse 1967, pp. 93–95.
  17. See Orth 1998, p. 86, no. 2.
  18. Orth 1998. The Hours of François I is discussed on pp. 80–81; the
    author also provides an annotated chronological list of the illuminations and prints attributed to the master in the appendix,
    pp. 84–85. In a later publication, Orth (2006) also attributed to the
    Master of François de Rohan the title page of the English Great
    Bible of 1539 and certain parts of the illumination in the vellum
    copy kept at St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. Her longanticipated survey of sixteenth-century French illumination is
    forthcoming from Harvey Miller Publishers. To date, the Hours of
    François I has been most extensively studied in an unpublished
    essay: Hindman and Bergeron-Foote 2010b; see also Hindman
    and Bergeron-Foote 2010a, pp. 60–63. The Master of François de
    Rohan’s miniatures for the Sarum Hours (private collection) have
    also been the subject of recent analysis; see Sutton 2007.
  19. See Orth 1998, p. 81. On architectural borders in French manuscripts of this period, see also Orth 1996, pp. 194–95.
  20. Featuring salamanders, the royal arms, and a portrait of François I
    in a wreath, a border of this type appears in an earlier folio attributed to the Master of François de Rohan: the frontispiece of the
    royal presentation copy of Guillaume Budé’s De transitu hellenismi
    (Paris: Robert Estienne, 1535) (BNF, rés. vél. 1147). The miniature
    is mentioned in Orth 1998, p. 82.
  21. Fisher 2007, p. 114. The author also notes that the tripartite leaves
    were understood as representative of the Holy Trinity. For the symbolism of the columbine, see ibid., p. 40, and for the rose, p. 106.
  22. The remaining #oral borders feature only one or two plant species,
    which are executed on a larger scale than the blooms framing
    Saint Luke in his study (Figure 7). In these examples, insects, whose
    coloration often owes more to the imagination than to nature,
    buzz about or crawl on trailing stems, adding vivid touches to
    the compositions.
  23. As Orth observed (1998, p. 80), the woodcut in Figure 10 is based
    on folio 47r (Figure 13) of the Hours of François I.
  24. Examination of the manuscript conducted by Metropolitan associate conservator Yana van Dyke indicated that the master’s palette
    consisted mainly of inorganic pigments, with the possible exception of the pink tonalities.
  25. On the personalization of books of hours, see Reinburg 2012,
    pp. 54–63. The author aptly describes them as “portraits” of their
  26. The royal arms may have also been intended to adorn the blank
    shields of folios 42r (Figure 4) and 83r.
  27. Orth (1998, p. 81) describes the caryatids as the only instance in
    which the master “hint[s] at his awareness of the decisive change
    of style which Fontainebleau mannerism was effecting in decorative motifs.”
  28. Recitation of the Seven Penitential Psalms was also used to obtain
    forgiveness for the dead and reduce their time in purgatory. For
    more on the Psalms in books of hours, see Wieck 1988, pp. 97–102,
    and Wieck 1997, pp. 91–98.
  29. On feminine ideals of beauty during the reign of François I, see
    Croizat-Glazer 2008, especially pp. 25–98.
  30. Early sixteenth-century French illuminations and prints typically
    show attendants delivering food to Bathsheba, reflecting that eating while bathing was a common practice. At the same time, this
    iconographic conceit also draws attention to bathing as a sensual
    experience. For more on this subject, see Bardiès-Fronty 2009.
  31. See Costley 2004. In her extensive study of this subject, the author
    argues that representations of Bathsheba bathing “by focusing on
    adultery rather than murder, make illicit sex representative of all
    sin” at the same time that they link the Penitential Psalms to a
    particular moment in King David’s life; see ibid., p. 1247.
  32. Here Bathsheba is approached by David’s messenger as well as
    attendants proffering food. The device of setting the fountain at an
    angle and portraying David in the background also occurs in
    fol. 78v of the Master of François de Rohan’s Hours of Perrenot de
    Granvelle (1531–32; BL, Western Manuscripts, Add. MS 21235,
    illustrated in Kren 1983, p. 149, “g. 19), although in this instance
    Bathsheba faces in the opposite direction.
  33. In this instance, the messenger hands a note to Bathsheba, who
    seems to hover above the fountain. The composition is closely
    related to folio 66v in a luxurious book of hours made for François I’s
    close friend and adviser, Anne de Montmorency (1539; Dr. Jörn
    Günther Rare Books, Basel), although the messenger “gure is
    replaced by an attendant who presents Bathsheba with a dish. The
    Hours of Anne de Montmorency is described in Orth’s appendix
    (1998, p. 85) as “location unknown”; their relationship to the Hours
    of François I is discussed in Hindman and Bergeron-Foote (2010b),
    who hypothesize that the Hours of Anne de Montmorency is by a
    workshop member.
  34. Kren and Evans 2005, pp. 57–58.
  35. Now lost, the painting was confused until the 1970s with another
    standing Venus by Costa commissioned in 1515 by Francesco II
    Gonzaga. This panel, now in the Szépm˝uvészeti Múzeum,
    Hours of François I (1539–40) 139
    Budapest, displeased the marquis because he found the !gure too
    plump; Costa responded to his patron’s criticism by producing a
    slimmer version of the !gure, which is the one Francesco presented to François I. For more on these paintings and illustrations,
    see Cox-Rearick 1995, pp. 200–201.
  36. Translated and cited by Cox-Rearick (1995, p. 201). “Ge piaque
    asai e non poteva saciar di guardarlo, e me disse che l’ rengratiava
    V.s. per mille volte. Subito e’ lo fece portar da la regina e da sua madre
    e ge lo fece vedere, e lo laudorno assai. La Mta del re mi dimandò
    se l’era retrata dal natural de qualche una donna di Mma e ge dissi
    che non sapea. El re la mostra a tutti questi signori e gentiluomini.”
  37. Cited in Occhipinti 2001, p. 47. “Io ho inteso da M. Thomaso del
    Vecchio che il giorno che S. Mtà arrivò a Fontanableo la sera, Mma
    Malgerita et Mma d’Étampes con Mma di Rotolino et due altre dame
    erano nel bagno, et S. Mtà con Monsr contestabile [Anne de
    Montmorency] et Monsr Rmo di Loreno et Monsr Rmo nostro
    [Ippolito d’Este] vi androno et le trovarono ignude, et lì stettero
    gran pezzo et scherzare.”
  38. Made after a plaster cast by Francesco Primaticcio (1504/5– 1570)
    of the original statue, the bronze was displayed for a time in the
    Galerie François I at Fontainebleau. See Freedberg 1989, p. 328, and
    Knecht 1994, p. 448. For a transcription of Teofilo Calcagnino’s
    report of the event, see Cox-Rearick 1995, pp. 464–65n38.
  39. The subject of David in prayer had become especially popular in
    books of hours by the !fteenth century. Attention was often drawn
    to his sin and repentance through the introduction of various
    details, such as the prophet Nathan standing before him or the
    angel of the Lord appearing in the sky. See Owens 1989 and
    Costley 2004, pp. 1253–61. In earlier centuries, the image of Christ
    as judge or King of Heaven was preferred for introducing the
    Penitential Psalms. See Wieck 1997, p. 97. David praying to the
    angel and David spying on the bathing Bathsheba are also juxtaposed in folio 18v from the later Psalter of Claude Gouf!er (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Paris, MS 5095). In this instance, however, the
    subjects are combined with two others traditionally used to introduce the Seven Penitential Psalms: the Death of Uriah in Battle and
    Nathan Reproaching David. Moreover, the nude Bathsheba is once
    again awarded a prominent place in the foreground, while the
    praying David is portrayed in the distance. For more on this illumination and an illustration, see Orth 2004, pp. 401–2, !g. 405.
  40. David was frequently portrayed, as here, playing a harp with ten
    strings, symbolizing the Ten Commandments. See Vinay-Gilbert
    2002, p. 386.
  41. On the ledge behind the harp is a sculpted lion, a royal emblem
    referring to the throne of Solomon.
  42. Backhouse (1967, p. 93) has indicated that the !gure of David was
    “perhaps intended to suggest Francis.” Other authors have recognized the image of David in penance as a disguised portrait of
    the French king; see Tudor-Craig 1989, p. 197; King 1994, p. 91,
    no. 18; Hindman and Bergeron-Foote 2010b. Comparison of the
    !gure with other representations of François, including the portrait
    in folio 89r (Figure 2) of the Hours of François I, leaves little doubt
    that David is a likeness of François. This identi!cation is supported
    in particular by the !gure’s distinctive nose, a feature very much a
    part of François I’s Valois identity, as Lisa Mans!eld has shown in
    her study of the king’s portraiture, which devotes an entire chapter
    to the royal nose; see Mans!eld 2004, pp. 100–112.
  43. On the portrait, see Mans!eld 2004, p. 43, and Smith and BentleyCranch 2007, pp. 611–12. The manuscript contains a second
    portrait of the king as David on the verso of the same leaf, in which
    the harp is less visible. In both miniatures, François’s face is based
    on a drawing by François Clouet (ca. 1516–1572). The complex
    and uncertain history of the Book of Hours of Catherine de Medici,
    which contains portraits of !fty-eight members of the House of
    Valois, makes it dif!cult to assess whether they were made during
    François I’s lifetime.
  44. See Rubin 2004, especially pp. 145–46. In developing her discussion of hierarchies of vision in relation to Fra Angelico’s Coronation
    of the Virgin (ca. 1427), Rubin draws on Thomas Aquinas’s Summa
    Theologica, particularly his response to the question of whether
    the image of Christ should be accorded the highest level of worship (latria) [III, Q. 25, Art. 3]. Citing Aristotle’s writings on memory, Aquinas reminds his readers that the image itself is not the
    object of veneration but rather, through its activation of memory,
    serves as a springboard for the worship of the divine.
  45. On the function of the contemplation of images in meditation, see
    also Freedberg 1989, pp. 161–91.
  46. See Smith and Bentley-Cranch 2007.
  47. Lecoq 1987, pp. 315–23. See also Orth 2004, pp. 398–99. A draft
    of the text, which links each verse to one of the king’s actions, is
    in the Bibliothèque Nationale (MS fr. 2088).
  48. Cited in Lecoq 1987, pp. 315–16. “Le xiie
    jour de février mil cinq
    cens et sèze à Horiol [Loriol] sur la ryvière de Drome, Madame fut
    spirituellement admounestée de faire parler son humilité à l’obéissance du Roy son !lz, et le supplier que pour Oraison dévote il
    prinst [prît] le pseaulme XXVI e , lequel est convenable pour luy. . . .
    Et moult luy pro!tera si à la requeste del Dame qu’il ayme tant il
    chanter et dire comme David: Dominus Illuminatio mea, et salus
    mea, quem timebo?”
  49. Smith and Bentley-Cranch 2007, p. 616. For the political significance of Guillaume Michel’s treatment of the relationship between
    David and François I, see Vinay-Gilbert 2002, pp. 349–95.
  50. Embodying the ideals of medieval chivalry, the Nine Worthies
    were !rst described by Jacques de Longuyon in his Voeux du Paon
    (1312). The Worthies consisted of three pagan (Hector, Alexander,
    and Julius Caesar), three Hebrew (Joshua, David, and Judas
    Maccabeus), and three Christian heroes (Charlemagne, King Arthur,
    and Godefroy de Bouillon).
  51. Smith and Bentley-Cranch 2007, pp. 608, 613–16, 622–24. The
    authors recognize in the choir stall’s !gure of Bathsheba a disguised portrait of the king’s mistress, the duchesse d’Etampes.
  52. See Huttar 1980, pp. 46–47; Owens 1989, p. 27; Boeckl 2000,
    pp. 54–55; and Costley 2004, pp. 1257–61.
  53. Huttar 1980, pp. 46–47.
  54. On the Heures de 1525, see Deprouw, Halévy, and Vène 2011. As
    the authors argue, Tory served as “artistic director” for the project,
    determining the overall content and design of the book. The illustrations were likely commissioned from a Parisian illuminator and
    then translated into woodcuts by a separate workshop. Deprouw,
    Halévy, and Vène have advanced the name of Étienne Colaud,
    who enjoyed the patronage of François I and his court, as the possible author of the images. The book was printed by Simon de
    Colines, as Tory did not yet possess a press of his own.
  55. François I is evoked in the border of the opposite folio (99v), which
    contains the king’s emblems, a #aming salamander and an “F”
    surmounted by a crown. Tory’s motto “Non Plus” appears on the
    facade of the classicizing building in the background of folio 100r.
  56. The fountain in the background may be an allusion to Bathsheba
    and therefore to David’s sin of adultery.
  57. Orth (1998, p. 78) noted that the manuscript was closely based
    on the so-called Heures de 1525. See also Deprouw, Halévy, and
    Vène 2011, p. 46.
  58. On the different attributes carried by the angel in this type of imagery, see Costley 2004, p. 1257n57, and Boeckl 2000, p. 54.
  59. The epistle was accompanied by a New Year’s gift of “un David,”
    possibly a medal or hat badge. See Smith and Bentley-Cranch
    2007, pp. 619–20.
  60. Ibid., pp. 620–21. “Poinct je ne suis au bon David semblable /
    De qui le cueur à Dieu fut agreable /Je suis pescheur, et cella je
    confesse,/ Dont le congnoistre est ma seure radresse.”
  61. The de”nitive study remains Bloch 1961; see also Knecht 2008,
    pp. 98–99, and Hindman and Bergeron-Foote 2010b.
  62. A miniature from the Hours of Henri II (fol. 107v, BNF, MS lat.
    1429) shows François’s son in royal regalia using his left thumb and
    middle “nger to touch an af#icted man as others await their turn.
  63. Bloch 1961, p. 310.
  64. Ibid., pp. 312–13.
  65. The banner streaming from the king’s lips reads: “Sancte Marculfe
    Ora Pro Nobis Dominium” (Saint Marcoulf pray for us).
  66. This idea is evoked through the words pronounced by the king
    during the ceremony of healing: “Le roi te touche mais Dieu te
    guérit” (The king touches you but God heals you), a statement “rst
    recorded by the Venetian Jérôme Lippomano in 1577, although it
    was likely used earlier. See Bloch 1961, p. 315, no. 5.
  67. On the meaning of the gourd, see Lightbown 2004, p. 149.
  68. The suffrages occur in the earlier un”nished book of hours for
    François I now in London (BL, Western Manuscripts, Add.
    MS 18853) and in the Hours of Henri II (BNF, MS lat. 1429) as
    noted in Backhouse 1967, pp. 90–91. Orth (1998, p. 90, no. 33)
    has identi”ed two additional manuscripts featuring the prayers:
    Hours of Henri II (Amiens, Bibliothèque Municipale, Lescalopier
    MS 22) and the now lost Hours of François II, which was in fact
    probably made for Henri II. The latter is recorded in the Bancel
    sale catalogue (Adolphe Labitte, Paris, 1887, p. 33).
  69. Boeckl 2000, p. 54.
  70. I Samuel 16:23 describes how David played the harp to relieve
    Saul, who was tormented by an evil spirit. The concept of music
    affecting the listener’s mind, body, and soul was of great interest
    to the Neoplatonists and became an important point of discussion
    as the French Academies took form in the sixteenth century (see
    Yates 1947, especially pp. 38–39, 40–44). In both the period’s
    visual arts and literature, the image of David playing the harp was
    frequently used to evoke his capacity to heal and restore harmony
    to the world. It was particularly well suited to royalty, as demonstrated by Guillaume Michel’s Le Penser de royal mémoire (Paris,
    1518), in which the poet has François metaphorically borrow
    David’s harp to help govern his kingdom and resolve its con#icts
    (see Vinay-Gilbert 2002, pp. 366–67). For more on David playing
    the harp, see Schaik 1992, pp. 38–58, 91–114.
  71. Cited in Heim 1956, p. 10. “Alexandre voit les femmes quand il n’a
    point d’affaires, François voit les affaires quand il n’a point de
  72. On the duchess’s “rst encounter with François, see Knecht 1994,
    pp. 249–50.
  73. For more on the causes and consequences of François I and
    Charles V’s rapprochement in this period, see ibid., pp. 385–97.
  74. Potter 2007, p. 133.
  75. Ibid., p. 136.
  76. Ibid., p. 137.
  77. On Charles V’s visit to France, see Knecht 2002a and Knecht
  78. An of”cial edition of Marot’s Trente Psaumes de David dedicated
    to François I was published in 1541. The draft presented to
    Charles V has traditionally been identi”ed as a manuscript in
    Vienna (Staatsbliothek, Cod. Vindob. 2644), a view challenged
    by Dick Wursten (2008), who questions whether the presentation
    to Charles V ever took place. See Orth 2004, pp. 400–401. On
    Marot’s translation, see Reuben 2000. The draft has traditionally
    been recognized as the manuscript in Vienna.
  79. In a letter dated October 20, 1539, to his ambassador Marillac,
    François wrote that he had been “greatly tormented by a cold that
    has befallen my genitals” (fort tourmenté d’ un rume qui m’est
    tumbe sur les génitoires). Cited in Knecht 2002a, p. 86. The king
    appears to have regularly suffered from abscesses of his bladder
    and genitals, possibly as a result of syphilis. He paid a hefty physical price for his in”delities, making the imagery of folio 67r all the
    more resonant. On the king’s health, see Knecht 1994, pp. 495–97.
  80. Knecht 2002b, p. 162.
  81. Bloch 1961, p. 313. The event was celebrated by the poet Iani
    Lascaris Rhyndaceni in a Latin distich: “Here it is thus that the
    king with one gesture cures scrofula;/ As a captor he has not lost
    the favor of [God] Above / Through this evidence, oh the most
    saved of kings./ I believe I can recognize that your persecutors are
    hated by the Gods” (Ergo manu admota sanat rex choeradas,
    etque / Captivus, superis gratus, ut ante fuit. / Iudicio tali, regum
    sanctissime, qui te / Arcent inuisos suspicor esse deis).
  82. On David’s signi”cance as a repentant adulterer in relation to
    François I’s affair with the duchesse d’Etampes, see also Smith and
    Bentley-Cranch 2007, pp. 621–22, addressing the subject in relation to the couple’s representation as David and Bathsheba at Auch Cathedral.
  83. The manuscript has recently been digitized by the British Library
    as part of its eBook Treasures series. A printed facsimile with an
    accompanying commentary volume by James Carley has also been
    made available. On the psalter, see Carley 2009, vol. 1, pp. 59–86,
    and McKendrick, Lowden, and Doyle 2012, p. 188, no. 45.
  84. Cooper 2003, p. 202.
  85. See Tudor-Craig 1989, pp. 194–98; King 1994, pp. 83–86; Carley
    2009, vol. 1, pp. 67–73; and McKendrick, Lowden, and Doyle
    2012, p. 188.
  86. See Carley 2009, vol. 1, p. 66, and Tudor-Craig 1989, p. 198.
  87. In the words of Kevin Sharpe, “beyond the Solomonic and Davidic,
    Henry was presented as Christic, as a Caesaro-papist with spiritual
    powers.” Sharpe 2009, p. 73; see also ibid., pp. 140–41, and
    Carley 2009, vol. 1, pp. 20–36, on Henry’s divorce and break with
  88. See Tudor-Craig 1989, p. 198, and King 1994, pp. 85–86. Several
    years earlier, in the much more public medium of tapestries,
    Henry VIII used the story of David and Bathsheba for positive
    propagandistic purposes; see Campbell 2007, pp. 177–87


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