Gourmet Fair

Into the Intrigues

Willem Geets (1838-1919) Marionette show at the court of Marguerite of Austria 1892. ©Museum Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen, Dries Van den Brande. Photo courtesy The Royal Monastery of Brou. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Bourg-en-Bresse, France — One of Europe’s richest centers of cloth production and an important trade hub on the trade route, the Netherlands under Burgundian rule would attract some of the finest artists of the Renaissance encouraged by the presence of the Burgundian court. It was a region that encompassed the Low Countries — Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg — and northern France from the end of the 14th century to the end of the 15th century when these territories were under the powerful helm of the Burgundian dukes.

The assassination of the bishop of Liège, 1829,Lyon ©Lyon MBA, Alain Basset. Photo courtesy The Royal Monastery of Brou. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

It was also a time of love, beauty, chivalry and war, a tale that is currently unfolding in a show at the Royal Monastery of Brou in the eastern French city of Bourg-en-Bresse. The exhibition takes the visitor into the twists and turns of court dramas and intrigues, power struggles, courtships and assassinations from the Dukes of Burgundy to the Habsburgs in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. This period is recounted in some 40 works of 19th century paintings executed in the troubadour style of painting that are being showcased at the monastery in an exhibition entitled Love, War and Beauty. The troubadour style was practiced by 19th century artists who had a strong interest in subjects from the Middle Ages. Here one discovers depictions of the dramatic assassination of the Bishop of Liège, the fun court of Marguerite of Austria replete with a puppet show and the signing of the treaty known as the Peace of the Ladies, as the signatories were all women, notably Louise of Savoy and Marguerite of Austria.

Georges Dascher (1851-1912) ; Louis Geisler (1852- 1914)Louise of Savoy, mother of Francis I, and Marguerite of Austria, aunt of Charles V, sign the peace of the Ladies (“The names of our daughters”) circa 1892,Rouen ©Rouen, musée national de l’Éducation, Réseau-Canopé. Photo courtesy The Royal Monastery of Brou. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The exhibition takes a chronological path through this period of intrigue and follows for example Marguerite of Austria, the daughter of the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and Mary of Burgundy and who commissioned the spectacular Monastery of Brou in the early 16th century after the death of her husband, Philibert II the Handsome in 1504 and who would become the first of many female regents in the Netherlands.

Louis Ricquier (1792-1884) Quentin Durward, Louis XI and Isabelle de Croye 1844, Bourg-en-Bresse ©Musée du monastère royal de Brou.Photo courtesy The Royal Monastery of Brou. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Meanwhile the show opens up with the reign of Philip the Bold , the son of King Philip IV of France, in the second half of the 14th century, Duke of Burgundy and who set the foundations of the Burgundian Netherlands and whose vast possessions stretched from Dijon to Amsterdam. His successors John the Fearless, Philippe the Good and Charles the Bold were also subjects of paintings and works of art offering an insight into the endless conflicts between the French, the Burgundians and the Habsburgs. When Marie of Burgundy married Maximilian of Hapsburg in 1477, the Burgundian Netherlands went to the powerful house of Austria. The high point of the exhibition is marked by the arrival of power of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, at the time the most powerful of the European sovereigns who even rivaled Francis I of France.

Joseph Lies (1821-1865) The court of Marguerite of Austria 1854,Verviers ©coll. Musées de Verviers, J. Spitz. Photo courtesy The Royal Monastery of Brou. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The exhibition has been co-produced by the Monastery of Brou and the Hofvan Busleyden of Malines Palace in Belgium in conjunction with the city of Bourg-en-Bresse and France’s Historic Monuments Center (Centre des Monuments Historiques) which manages, preserves and promotes the Royal Monastery of Brou. The monastery’s centerpiece is a church that is a flamboyant Gothic masterpiece unique in France and worthy of a visit in and of itself. The show is on until June 26th.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
63 Bd de Brou
01000 Bourg-en-Bresse, France
Tel: + 33 (0) 4 74 22 83 83

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