Sunday, 29 June 2014

Last portraits of Marie-Antoinette - Kucharski

Alexandre Kucharski, Marie-Antoinette, c.1792
Unfinished pastel portrait, 77cm x 60cm
Musée de l'Histoire de France, Versailles
It is to Alexander Kucharski, the second artist of Marie-Antoinette's final years, that we owe this famous and beautiful pastel portrait of the Queen, made the more poignant by its damaged and incomplete state. Intended as a gift for Madame de Tourzel, who pronounced it to be a "perfect likeness", the picture miraculously survived both the aftermath of the flight to Varennes and the Revolutionary assault of 10 August 1792; according to Olivier Blanc, Kucharski himself recouped it and sold it to Madame de Tourzel's son Charles in 1795.  The portrait is now at in the collections at Versailles. Madame de Tourzel wrote the following account on the back of the portrait:

The Queen had this portrait made for the Marquise de Tourzel, Governess of the Children of France: it was almost destroyed at the time of the journey to Varennes and was resumed in 1792.  On tenth August, it was taken from the apartment of Her Majesty and found two years later by the efforts of the marquis de Tourzel Grand prévôt de France.  A precious souvenir of the goodness of the Queen, of whom it gives a perfect likeness, though damaged by all it has suffered.  This portrait of the Queen received on 10th August two pike blows from the Revolutionaries. 

Notice for the 1792 portrait:
"Portrait en buste de la reine Marie-Antoinette" Musée de l'Histoire de France, Versailles
http://www.museehistoiredefrance.fr/index.php?option=com_oeuvre&view=detail&cid=107



Photograph from the Bibl. Nat. collections
Kucharski's portrait on exhibition
at Versailles in 1927

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Last portraits of Marie-Antoinette - Dumont



Versailles.  Miniature 
of Louis XVI
displayed in
the Salon of 1789
Between the years 1780 and 1792 François Dumont established his reputation as the most sought-after French miniaturist. He painted portraits of the Queen from about 1777 onwards and, after a period of study in Romein 1786,  became official Court miniaturist following  death of Ignazio Pio Vittoriano Campana.  In 1788 he was received into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and from 1789 exhibited regularly in the Paris Salon. In 1790 the King granted him an atelier-apartment located in the Galleries of Louvre which had become vacant after the death of the engraver Charles Nicolas Cochin.  

 According to Olivier Blanc Dumont, along with Kucharski, was the artist of Marie-Antoinette's "mauvais jours".   He never hid his royalist sympathies and was imprisoned in the Abbaye prison at the end of 1793, to be  liberated only after the fall of Robespierre. He continued to occupy a place in salons of painting from 1789 to 1824 though his work was overshadowed after the Revolution by that of Isabey and Augustin.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A waistcoat belonging to Robespierre




This picture comes from 9 et 10 Thermidor, the splendid illustrated book of 1908 mentioned in my earlier post as being available in the Picpus Digital Archives.  It is a part of a waistcoat which belonged to Robespierre! The mottoes read "Vivre libre ou mourir" ("Liberty or death") and "La Nation, la Loi, le Roi" ("Nation, Law, King").  The waistcoat was apparently sent by Robespierre to a certain M. Bérteché, an admirer in Arras in 1793 (when loyalty to the King was presumably no longer good garment graphics).  
.
The only evidence for Robespierre actually wearing such an item is Hector Fleischmann's statement that Vivant Denon once met him in the gardens of the Tuileries dressed in an embroidered satin waistcoat of rose silk - which may or may not have been this particular one.  However, the style and colour are consistent with Robespierre's reputation for dandyism.  The waistcoat is confirmation too, should any be needed, of just how seriously French Revolutionaries took uniforms, costumes and symbolic accoutrements of all sorts.

Print in the New York Public Library
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?2006466
The fragment is documented as part of a collection belonging to the Academician, dramatist and associate of Lenotre, Henri Lavedan. It was reproduced by Hector Fleischmann in his Robespierre et les femmes in 1909 and the New York Public Library has a print that looks roughly the same date.  In April 1933 it was bought by the actor Sacha Guitry, who also apparently possessed Robespierre's lace jabot.  I can't find any evidence of where it is now, if it still exists; certainly not in any of the big French public collections.

Buffenoir in his Portraits de Robespierre wrote that he had seen the waistcoat, but was sceptical;  he considered it to be much too big and too long for "la taille petite et mince du chef de la Montagne" (Annales révolutionnaires 1909, 2(3): p.379)




References

http://picpus.mmlc.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/Picpus.woa/wa/displayDigitalObject?id=1060
[INDEX 13] Fragment of a waistcoat with stripes of silk and velvet which belonged to Robespierre and was sent by him in 1793 to M Bertéché, in Arras.
One of the stripes of the design has the device: VIVRE LIBRE OU MOURIR, alternating with another: LA NATION, LA LOI, LE ROI.
Collection de M. Henri Lavedan

Hector Fleischmann, Robespierre et les femmes (1909) (Plate, opp. p.64)
https://archive.org/stream/robespierreetle00fleigoog#page/n76/mode/2up



Friday, 20 June 2014

Building the King's highways - the corvée

From Lannion, Côtes-d'Armor, in the north of Brittany





These boundary markers, still fairly plentiful along the roads of France, represent the last tangible reminders of the corvée, the system of forced labour on the roads which was to become the very symbol of ancien régime archaism and inequities. 

Each one typically bears the name of a parish and the length of the section of road for which it was  responsible (in toises, one toise being just short of two metres)







Father Berruyer's Biblical novel (cont.)

Illustration from: http://www.18thcenturybibles.org/Welcome.html

Here are a few passages from Father Berruyer's rendition of Genesis. As his critics pointed out, the Patriarchs seem more like 18th-century Frenchmen than Ancient Hebrews. The effect is amplified by Berruyer's typically Jesuit insistence on Divine Mercy and human free will, a theological outlook which doesn't sit happily with the vengeful God of the Old Testament. In Berruyer's version God gives men plenty of time to mend their ways  - if only they would stop and think though their actions more carefully!


Trouble in Paradise


Eve gives the fruit of the Tree of
Knowledge of which she
had eat to her Husband
Genesis 3:6

[God forbids Adam to eat from the Tree of Knowledge] For Adam, who felt himself to be full of courage, the law of abstinence from a single fruit, seemed a slight test of his virtue...But Adam was still alone, and he did not know what it costs a fond man to ignore the pleas, or to guard against the seductive powers, of a woman...

[God creates Eve] The two rational creatures to whom He had given command of the created world, occupied themselves agreeably with admiring its marvels and giving thanks to its author.  Adam profited from these happy moments to teach his new wife the precepts he had received from God....Adam fulfilled the duties of a good husband, instructing his wife with much care; and the wife for her part was so attentive that she remembered his instruction world for word and repeated them on many occasions.  

[Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat from the forbidden tree - she finds the fruit "as delicious in taste as it was agreeable to the eye" and prevails upon Adam to follow her lead]   ...the caresses, the solicitations, the importuning of a beloved wife, who was afflicted, who gave herself over to despair, who reproached him with indifference towards her, make powerful impressions on the heart of a man.  Adam allowed himself to be conquered and finally bit the fatal morsel" (vol.1, book1,  p.22-29)



Cain has a fit of jealousy


Cain rises up against his brother
 Abel & kills him. Genesis 4:8
We only know of the youth of these two brothers their common education and their difference of profession.  But it is scarcely likely that they had lived so long without giving proofs of the diversity of their characters, and without letting Adam see what he should fear or hope.  Whatever the case, an unhappy occasion made it known and decided their fate.

[God prefers the sacrifice of Abel] Jealousy does not make for justice.  Cain ought to have recognised the cause of his disgrace and remedied it.  He preferred to avenge himself on a fortunate man, however undeserving of punishment, and at the mere sight of the happiness of Abel, he forgot that he was his brother and regarded him only as his enemy......

[Cain murders his brother] God did not deign to communicate with Cain after such a terrible action.  To start with he only said to him two words, with a gentleness that the fratricide did not merit: Cain, where is Abel your brother?  I know nothing replied the rogue.  Am I my brother's keeper?...A response so insolent merited a thunder bold.  But God, who had tried in vain to stop the crime, wanted still to lead Cain to repentance........
(vol.1, book 1, p.38-41)


God sends a Flood



And it rained upon the Earth
forty days & forty nights.

Genesis 7:12
[God finally has enough of men's bad behaviour] 
My patience is at an end said God to Noah.  All the earth is teeming with abominations and my sight is filled with crimes.  My religion is extinguished, my cult abolished.  The time of my vengeance approaches and my decrees  are henceforth irrevocable.....

[Noah is instructed by God to construct the Ark]
Noah made incredible efforts to touch the heart of God, calling for penitence from men.  He obeyed however and for twenty years he had the happiness of building the instrument of his salvation under the eyes of the bold....At the sight of this astonishing edifice and of a conduct that appeared so bizarre in a man with a great reputation for sagacity and virtue, a few couldn't prevent themselves from fearing the future.  But half unbelieving they flattered themselves too much to anticipate it properly.  This reasoning, presumptuous though it was, was that of the most wise and least opinionated.  The Ark was for a longtime the object of of insults.....

The flood was so great, the waters increased all the time, without a moment of interruption either of the flow of underground waters nor the fall of those which fell from the sky in torrents, that the highest mountains of of all the countries of the world were covered and even buried by the waters.  Reptiles, birds, beasts of the countryside, domestic animal, all that breathed on the earth and in the air, perished without exception, and with them all men, without a single one outside the arch being able to find a means of escaping the shipwreck....The Holy patriarch, with his family, struck by the severity of the vengeance of God, and touched by his great mercies, prayed with ardor for the salvation of those who had perished...(vol.1 book 1, p.56-60)




Abraham and Isaac


[God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac]
Abraham, lay not thine hand on the Child.
Genesis 22:11,12
Everything contributed, it would seem, to justify the resistant of Abraham in such circumstances. The sacrifice of human blood ordered by a God who was always offended by such barbarities; the murder of a son at the hands of his father, and commanded by a master who declares himself the father of all men, the death of this child without posterity who was destined to be the leader and father of a great People.  It was necessary only to contrast God with Himself, his inclinations with his orders, his former oracles with his new commandments, to make a merit of disobeying him or in conscience to treat as an illusion these contradictory orders.
[Abraham, however, is accustomed to obedience and  determines to carry out what is demanded of him.  An Angel appears to rescue Isaac in the nick of time.](vol.1, book 2. p.162-4)Don't go any further continued the Angel; let fall the sword which you are aremed with; spare a victime that is dear to you and whom God takes care of.  The Lord knows now that you fear him, and a father who will have his son sacrificed is a servant worthy of him.  Abrhanam obeyed with gratitude this sweek comandment because he had sumbitted without feableness to the harsh on.....



Joseph and his brothers


[The patriarch Jacob was disappointed in the conduct of his sons, except for one who was his favourite]

This son, so dear, and so worthy of being so, was Joseph, born in Mesopotamia in Syria of Jacob and Rachel, six year before the Patriarch left to enter into the land of Canaan.  As soon as the Lord had given them this blessed child, he became the darling of his father and mother, because he was the unhoped for fruit of the old age of the one and the late fertitity of the other. 

Joseph is sold into slavery by his brethren
Genesis 37:38

As soon as he was of the age to show by his conduct and by his habits, something more than a natural tenderness, he was seen to merit not only the affection of Rachel, but also the esteem and confidence of Jacob. He was handsome, but modest; his candor, openness, innocence, seemed to be born with the child and to grow with him.  His obedience was always without reserve and his gratitude without bounds.  It was impossible for Jacob not to give preference in his heart to this amiable child.  But whatever care the father took to hide his predilection, the keen eyes of the brothers  soon uncovered whom his heart preferred ....  Each of the caresses of the father, became a crime of the son's , and a reason for hatred to his brothers.  This even extended to the distinction made in dress for little Joseph by offended them. A long coat of many colours that was made for him put them immediately into a bad temper

[Joseph recounts his dreams in which his family seems to bow down to him] The brothers of Joseph, outraged by the ambitious claims of a child who, though only sixteen, seemed to wish to dominate them all, resolved to be rid of him....It was strange that among so many sons of a saint this criminal project was accepted without contention and no-one though of softening the violence of it....[They are persuaded by Ruben at least "not to soil their hands with the blood of their brother" and Joseph is sold into slavery.(vol.1,book 4, p.328-32)



Potiphar's wife


[Having become superintendent of Potiphar's house, Joseph is the object of his wife's attentions]

Joseph enjoyed good fortune as the superintendent of Potiphar.  His God never allowed him to lack opportunity to show merit and, before making the final step to the pinnacle of honour, he was buried seemingly forever in an abyss of confusion.  One would naturally  fear for him only the jealousy of the Egyptians against the favoring of a Stranger, but he used his credit to make so many happy, that he did not make any enemies.  He would have been secure if he did not have to guard against the furors of hate.  A woman conceived a love for him and he found that he could only guard his innocence at the expense of his reputation, the loss of his liberty and the risk of his life.


The handsome face of the Foreigner was all the more remarkable  in that the natives of the country were nearly all poorly endowed of a face and figure.  The young man did not make much of the gifts of nature -  perhaps he did not know to what point he was favored.  But the wife of his master was struck and, having the occasion to see him every day, conceived a violent passion for him, which she resolved to satisfy.  She declared her sentiments to him and pressed him to respond. She did so so often and in such an immoderate way, that he believed finally that he must confront her her and take from her all hope that he would consent to such a crime.


Think carefully, he said to her,  about the words you have spoken; have you not noticed the horror they inspire in me? You can see that your husband has given me his trust, made me master of all he possesses.  I know better than he does what goes on in his house and he so relies on my loyalty that he never calls me to account. I have at my disposal his house and his goods, which he leaves to my stewardship.  And yet you believe me to be capable of the most monstrous ingratitude towards a master who showers me with benefits, that in thanks I would snatch away his honour?  No I will never consent.  Even if I was ungrateful enough to betray the best master that I could have on earth, I have another master in Heaven, whose sight and vengeance I cannot avoid. Do not hope to win me over.  Blush at your unworthy entreaties and cease to entice me to a crime for which I would be punished if I dared to commit it.

This wise reply did not move this love-crazed woman.  One day when Joseph retired to his apartment to work alone and at ease, she followed him, insisted again and seized his coat to detain him.  Such an occasion required no less than a Joseph, that is to say a wise God-fearing man, chastened by religion.  Joseph did not delay in fleeing from danger and abandoned his cloak in the hands of the temptress.  He saw very well that he was furnishing an outraged woman with arms against him which she would not hesitate to use and that to save his virtue was to leave himself without hope.  He saw the consequences, and he counted them as nothing in comparison with his innocence.

Potiphar's wife profited from her advantage; and not being able to make herself loved nor obeyed, she gave her self the cruel pleasure of vengeance....(vol.1,book 4, p.341-3)


References

Berruyer Histoire du peuple de Dieu 
Histoire du peuple de Dieu, depuis son origine jusqu'à la naissance du Messie. Nouv.ed. Paris : Bordelet : Gissey, 1742 (10 vols.)
http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb40147948n

Histoire du peuple de Dieu, depuis la naissance du Messie, jusqu'à la fin de la synagogue Anvers : libraires associés, 1754 (8 vols)
http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb40148251v

There are no plates in the various editions of  Berruyer's work. The pictures above are from a roughly contemporary set of Biblical illustrations:
http://www.mythfolklore.net/lahaye/index.html
From Figures de la Bible. Illustrated by Gerard Hoet, and others.Published by P. de Hondt in The Hague (La Haye). 1728.
Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Father Berruyer's Biblical novel


Ton livre unit l'amusant à  l'utile
Point ne prétends en critiquer le style,
Et point ne veux en blasonner le plan; 
Mais, Berruyer, si tu voudrais me croire, 
Il te faudroit, au beau titre d'histoire,
Substituter le titre du roman.

[Your books unites the amusing and the useful; No-one  could criticise the style or improve  the plan;  But Berruyer, believe me, you must substitute for the fine title of history the title novel.  Epigram quoted in Iraihl, Querelles littéraires (1761)]





Father Hardouin’s most famous follower was a fellow-Jesuit, Isaac-Joseph Berruyer who between 1728 and 1758 published a history of Biblical times in many volumes entitled The History of the People of God. 

In May 1753 the appearance of the second part of this work caused a furore equal to or greater than any produced by the publications of the philosophes.  It was condemned by the Pope, the Archbishop of Paris, the Sorbonne and the Parlement, and finally ceremonially burnt by the public hangman. The Jesuits of Paris had done their best to limit the damage. Following a conference with Archbishop de Beaumont ten thousand écus had been placed at their disposal to round up all available copies and compensate the booksellers.  However, by October, when the Jesuits issued their formal disavowal, d'Argenson reports that police had already seized four thousand copies at the gates of Paris. Handbills were given out at church doors and other public places stating that the Society had nothing to do with the affair.  

Berruyer himself claimed that he had not been responsible for the work's unauthorised appearance and indeed, Jesuit sources confirmed that he had come from Rouen to Paris to print the Histoire only to find publication blocked by the Jesuit Provincial. The Année Française even claimed that Father Tournemine had kept the only manuscript under under lock and key, amusing himself every so often by bringing it out to read aloud and ridicule. Nonetheless, although Berruyer apparently acquiesced humbly in the condemnation, a third part appeared four years later, raising reasonable suspicions both that he was not really so repentant and that he had influential supporters.


The principal accusation against Berruyer's history was the grave one that he was guilty of substituting his own word for the word of God, a charge lent substance by his method - adopted from Hardouin - of creating a loose paraphrase of the Biblical text. Berruyer modernised the Biblical language, put imaginary conversations into the mouths of the sacred characters, inventing thoughts and motivations and inserting comments to point out the moral of the story. He was criticised for lingering pruriently over the loves of the patriarchs, the passion of Potiphar's wife or Judith's liaison with Holophernes. His New Testament caused even greater offence. The work also betrayed Hardouin's critical idiocyncrases - his exclusive reliance on the Latin Vulgate, his chronological revisions, his heterodox interpretation of Old Testament prophecies as having two literal meanings at once; and in the New Testament his supposedly anti-Trinitarian interpretation of the person of Christ.

The literary wags, of course, had a field day: a Jesuit had turned the Bible into a third rate novel! The Patriarchs were made to think and act, "like men brought up at Court or in the middle of Paris".  Voltaire took pleasure in noting that the Bible had been transformed into "un roman de ruelle" and that Berruyer, "although a Jesuit, was a fool"." In his article "Adam" in the Philosophical dictionary, he reviewed the weird and wonderful contortions of contemporary theological discussions of Genesis and commented ironically that he would leave their resolution to Berruyer:  "He is the most perfect Innocent I have ever known; the book has been burned, as that of a man who wished to turn the Bible into ridicule; but I am quite sure he had no such wicked end in view."

For once Voltaire had totally missed the point.  Berruyer was no fool and it was the very vagaries of critical scholarship and their potential threat to Christianity which, following his mentor  Hardouin, he sought to address.  In controversy Berruyer defended critical freedom but also the need to safeguard faith against the necessary uncertainties of criticism itself. To do so he turned to the usual Catholic appeal to Church tradition, but with a novel twist.  True tradition was to be found not in writings but specifically in the Church's oral tradition - in its everyday teaching rather than in "a mass of prickly discussion":  "It is in the teaching of the Roman Church, and in its present teaching, that I find without risk and at small cost the tradition of all the ages; it is there that the Religion of Christ must be found, even by those who seek to combat it". (Vol. 1,p.263) .


For the Bible there were two crucial consequences.  Firstly, since the Church had pronounced that the Latin Vulgate was the "authentic" version of the Bible, this text alone should be relied upon. "The history of the people of God that I am writing, cannot in any way  be found in the books of Pagans".  It was Hardouin and Berruyer's  contention was that  that an entire history could be constructed from the Vulgate alone, without recourse to rival versions or secular sources -  the divine monuments, when appropriate interpreted and arranged, says Berruyer, "furnish by themselves the most true, the most beautiful and the most interesting history in the world".

The other  consequence was to empty the Bible of doctrinal content : Scripture provided historical testimony to the truth of revelation rather than evelation itself, which should be sought in Church tradition . Thus Moses and the Patriarchs knew nothing of the Christian mysteries, whilst the Prophets foretold only Christ's Messiahship. Jesus's own teaching was often obscure or conditioned by the needs of his immediate audience.  He offered no religious doctrine or ethics but sought only to convince his hearers that he was the Son of God, and to demonstrate his supernatural power through miracles.


Berruyer's summary of the person of Christ as he appears in the New Testament sounds strikingly modern, some might say more appropriate to Voltaire or Rousseau than to a Catholic priest:



" one God,  one Jesus-Christ (son of God (in a manner and in a certain sense), whose life, death Resurrection, miracles and lessons are recounted in the Gospels.  A Messiah and celestial Doctor, sent into the world and authorised by God to abrogate the gross and imperfect religion of the Jews, to cure the world of Idolatry....to furnish to a corrupt world the help and example of a pure morality; to make of men so many Philosophers submissive to the Laws of Reason, to present to them in his person the idea of the spirituality and immortality of the soul, hope of Resurection and perhaps also knowledge of the punishments and rewards of the next life." [Passage from Berruyer's Reflections on faith (1763)]



References

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac-Joseph_Berruyer
Wikipedia article taken from Aloys De Backer, Bibliothèque des écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus, (1856), p. 144-5.

Isaac Joseph Berruyer (1681-1758) on "Berruyer.com"
http://www.berruyer.fr/celebres/genealogie-3-3-isaac.html

.R. Palmer, Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France (Princeton 1939), p.68-76.

C.M. Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment SVEC (1991) p.144-55.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Atheistical forgeries uncovered




Galerie Illustrée de la
Compagnie de Jésus
 (Paris: 1893)
Epitaph of Father Hardouin:

IN EXPECTATION OF THE JUDGMENT
HERE LIES
THE MOST PARADOXICAL OF MEN
BY NATURE A FRENCHMAN, BY RELIGION A ROMAN, 
THE PORTENT OF THE LITERARY WORLD,
THE WORSHIPPER AND THE DESTROYER OF VENERABLE ANTIQUITY.
FEVERED WITH LEARNING,
HE WOKE TO PUBLISH DREAMS AND THOUGHTS
UNHEARD OF.
HE WAS PIOUS IN HIS SCEPTICISM, 
A CHILD IN CREDULITY, A YOUTH IN RASHNESS, AN OLD MAN IN MADNESS


"In expectatione judicii/ Hic jacet/ Hominum paradoxotatos/ Natione Gallus, Religione Romanus/ Orbis literari portentum:/ Venerandae antiquitatis cultor et destructor./ Docte febricitans/ Somnia et inaudita commenta vigilans edidit/ Scepticum pie egit/ Credulitate poer, audicia juvenis, delirii senex" (composed by Claude Gros de Boze and reproduced as a preface to the Prolegomena - see below)



The Prolegomena of Father Hardouin

In 1766 there appeared in London a seemingly dull book in Latin by a long-dead French Jesuit, Father Jean Hardouin, entitled Ad Censurum Scriptorum Veterum Prolegomena  [An Introduction to the censure of the Ancient writers].  The publication passed scarcely noticed, yet it was a startling work, for in an age of eccentric scholars, Father Hardouin must surely rank as the most eccentric of all. Rumours of his famous “system” had circulated from early in the century but only now was the full extent of his folly revealed.

An English translation of the Prolegomena, published in 1909  is available on the internet, removing the need to struggle with Latin.  Hardouin’s thesis was simple but devastating; his intention, he declares at the outset, is to show that the entire corpus of Ancient texts were forged, "that all writings which are commonly thought to be old, are in fact…supposititious, and the fabrication of an unprincipled crew of literary men" (p.1)  Hardouin's accusation was thoroughgoing. He spared as genuine only the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible and a handful of Classical texts: Homer, a few books of Herodotus and, among the Latins, Cicero, the Elder Pliny, the Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil and the Satires and Letters of Horace.  All other writings and historical records, including the entire corpus of the Church Fathers, were held to be the product of a conspiracy of 13th and 14th-century writers, headed up by one "Severus Archotius" (aka. Emperor Frederick II) bent on spreading atheism in the world and undermining the Catholic faith.  This colossal fabrication was achieved on the basis of the few authentic texts,  plus an almost equally limited number of coins and inscriptions which Hardouin accepted as genuine.  Against the charge of implausibility, Hardouin solemnly observed that the entire library of Ancient texts could well have been created within a generation since it was equivalent in length only to the works of the Protestant Reformers or the combined output of Suarez,.Vasquez and five other (equally prolix) Jesuit theologians


Genesis of the system

Almost as surprising as his conclusions, was the high regard Hardouin had been held in by the scholarly community.  Although prevented from publishing, he had been sheltered  for years in the Jesuit house in Paris, where he continued to be held in esteem for both his piety and learning.  All of which suggests  that there might be more to "Hardouinisme" than mere craziness.

Born in in 1646, the son of a printer-bookseller from Quimper in Brittany, Hardouin  had entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1660, become a professed Jesuit in 1770,  and rapidly established himself as one of the leading scholars of his age. His interest in textual criticism and numismatics made him  one of the few Jesuit scholars who could rival the enormous prestige of the Benedictines of St Maur.  In 1684 he was charged with the edition of Pliny “ad usum Delphini” and in 1985 with the highly prestigious commission of an edition of the Councils of the Church, for which he received a royal pension. From 1685 onwards he was also Professor of Scripture at the Collège Louis-le-Grand, though in 1691 he was judiciously removed from his teaching post and made librarian at the Professed Jesuits’ house in the rue Saint-Antoine.



The Jesuit Church of St Louis, rue Saint-Antoine. 
18th century engraving  from the Institut National d' Histoire de l'Art 

Although his work already betrayed a certain eccentricity, it was from1690 onwards that Hardouin began to elaborate his "system".  As the Prolegomena makes clear, his initial suspicions fell on the Church Fathers, chief among them, St. Augustine of Hippo, the great authority of the Jansenists.  For a Jesuit to question Augustine in the early 18th century, was roughly equivalent to presenting his colleagues with an unexploded bomb. At  first Hardouin was pretty effectively muzzled by his superiors, but vague hints of forgery began to appear in two works of chronology published in 1693 and 1697.  Rumour circulated that Hardouin intended to point the finger of accusation at 10th-century Benedictines. In 1707 the former Benedictine La Croze accused him of seeking to undermine Catholic tradition and he was forced to formally retract.  That he had not reformed was made clear when the offending works reappeared as part of a volume of Opera Selecta published in Holland in 1709.  In 1715 Hardouin's massive history of the Church Councils finally appeared, only to be condemned as too favourable to papal authority and prevented from going on sale for another ten years. Although the work was finished according to orthodox scholarship, four volumes of manuscript notes revealed Hardouin's belief that all Councils prior to Trent were fraudulent. When asked how he could have nonetheless laboured on his edition, he replied that "Only God and I know that".

Little more was heard of Father Hardouin until after his death, when his friend the abbé d'Olivet took possession of many of his manuscripts, no doubt for fear they would be destroyed.  The Opera Varia, published by d'Olivet in 1733, reproduced a few completed works, including the "Athei detecti" a mystifying attack on a seemingly disparate list of philosophers and Jansenist theologians,  including Pascal, Descartes,  and the Oratorians Louis Thomassin and Nicolas Malebranche.  The dissertations on secular sources yielded two idiocyncratic allegorical interpretations of Horace and Virgil, which caused Voltaire suitable amusement:  "He believes that Aeneus is Jesus Christ and Lalage, Horace's mistress, is the Christian religion". No doubt it was d'Olivet, who waited over two more decades, until he himself was in his eighties, before daring to publish the Prolegomena.



. The revelations of La Pillonniere


In all this this time the outside world still had no real key to the system.  However, some clarification was provided in 1717 when an erstwhile young disciple, François La Pillonniere converted to Protestantism, fled to London and published his experiences.  Various versions of his account exist, including one in English, which is amusing for its portrait of Hardouin, but also informative about the idea of "atheism" which underpinned the system.

La Pillonniere recounts that, as a new novice, he wasted no time in seeking out the famous Jesuit oracle:


p.7: At length, a dissatisfied and helpless Curiosity moved me to apply to Father Hardouin, whom I thought possessed of the Key of true Knowledge, as he hinted now and then he was, and as every Thing almost induced me to believe; particularly, the Fondness of many Jesuits (and some of Note) for his opinions; his great Piety; his laborious Life beyond Expression, and immense Reading; his being pensioned by the Clergy of France, for writing his unfortunate History of Councils, or his Romance as he was wont to call it; and lastly, the greatest Enchanter of Friendship[.....]

Whether it was that he did not think Me Ripe enough, or that he was afraid of new Storms; Father Hardouin would not for a long while lead me into his Secrets.  He advised me only to improve Myself in Greek, and to learn Hebrew, raising my  Expectation on the one Hand by his Dark Reservedness, and on the other by his wonderful Promises.....

p.8-9:  Finally Hardouin revealed to La Pillonniere his heterodox interpretations of Old Testament prophecies and chronology, and finally something of the basis of the "system":

...I was struck with nothing more than with what he insinuates concerning a Set of Atheists, leagued in order to root out true Religion from amongst Men. This Faction, made up of Ancient and Modern Authors, whom He charged with a very Impious and Atheistical System indeed; but which had Being no where else than in F. Hardouin's crazy Brain; and on which nevertheless he had built his own Imaginations, about the Works of the Fathers, and almost all the profane Authors not being Genuine.  

La Pillonniere now consulted Hardouin's colleague Father Tournemine, editor of the Jesuit Journal de Trévoux and correspondent of Voltaire: 

I desired Father Tournemine to tell Me what was that Atheistical and Chimerical System of which He spake.  F. Tournemine answered that F.H. charged the Authors of those Books with having no other GOD but TRUTH (which was not a SUBSTANCE) and with designing to draw the World into their Atheism, by their damnable Way of Reasning upon that Subject.
F. Tournemine let slip a Word, in the Course of our Conversation, viz. That the two Ancient Books, F. Hardouin had most Spite against, were St. John Damascen and St. Augustin's Second Book about Free-Will.  

La Pillonniere repaired to the Library to consult these works where, "being strongly prepossess'd with some of the dark Notions of the Schools", he came to the conclusion that F. Hardouin was "not so full of Dreams as it was commonly thought".


"Whilst I was revolving these Thoughts, with St.Augustin's Book laid open before Me, F. Hardouin, who was the Library-Keeper, comes in .  Finding me in a very good way, He led Me into his Secrets for the first Time.  He instructed Me for many Hours together, both about the Atheistical Principle, and Heretical Consequences, of the system of the ROGUES.  Les FRIPONS (which was the Name he constantly gave to Thos whom his Adversaries call'd the FATHERS OF THE CHURCH)....He told Me a thousand Things very entertaining, and very worthy to be offered to the Curiosity of the Publick..


La Pillonniere now deviced a strategem.  He transcribed  the offending passages from St Augustine and offered them up to various fellow Jesuits for condemnation.  He claims to have tricked twenty, one of whom asked if the book was not by "some Dutch Protestant" and another why Hardouin  didn't condemn this and leave the Fathers of the Church alone.  A somewhat unguarded Tournemine himself finally admitted "that if F. Hardouin would keep within Bounds, as other Criticks, there would be no great harm in delivering up to him some Books of St. Augustin, which might well enough be looked upon as Young Frolicks, etc." (p.12)

The Jesuit novitiate and its church (now demolished) from
 an 18th-century engraving (http://israel.silvestre.fr)
The serious point of course is that Hardouin's reservations about rationalist theologies - among them the neo-Platonism of Augustine -  was not so very far from those of other Jesuit scholars. He belonged to a close knit lose knit group of associates which including not only Tournemine and d'Olivet, but also  Pierre-Daniel Huet, the former Bishop of Avranches and notorious proponent of scepticism, who had retired to the Jesuit house in the rue Saint-Antoine. Another Jesuit, Father Buffier was one of the first Frenchmen to adopt the empirical philosophy of Locke.  

A coincidence of views is particularly apparent with regard to the philosophy of Malebranche, which became very influential in Paris in the 1700s and even gained adherents among the Jesuits themselves. The Journal de Trévoux readily echoed Hardouin's  hostile verdict, condemning Malebranche's  notions of "vision in God" and God as "indeterminate being" as an erroneous identification of the deity with the totality of the universe.  According to Professor Kors, Hardouin manuscript lectures and expositions of Malebranche's position "termed it atheism pure and simple and, analyzing what "followed" from its premises, gave virtual lessons on how to think atheistically...When the new philosophy says God always understand "the reality of things" or "their truth" or "Nature" or the "Necessity of the laws of motion".  For Malebranche "there is no other God but "Nature", "the reality of things" or "the Necessity of the laws of motion"".



The other key point made by La Pillonniere regards the premise of  Hardouin's critical method
:

Some learned Men both Protestants and Papists, have falsely imagined that F. Hardouin's Prepossession for Medals, or his Design to serve some Political End of the Society, had given this strange Turn to his Thoughts.  But it was not so.  His blind Submission to the Church of Rome first, and after that His religious Infatuation for the Tenets of the Schools...are the two Springs of His Exorbitancies.  For Having found in the Ancient Books, hardly anything like the ORTHODOX Doctrines of the CHURCH, and of the SCHOOLS; or rather having found the Reverse; He infers very consistently, that these Books never came from the Pen of pious Men Sainted by the Church and who  were no doubt ORTHODOX.(p.11-12)

Hardouin's conclusion is simple, but devastating: a book in which atheism is established and the idea of God overturned, cannot be the work of a saint which the church has canonised.   

It was of course Hardouin's peculiar misfortune to have formulated so inclusive a definition of atheism and so embracing a theory of forgery and then to have adhered to it in the face of all common-sense probability.  Nonetheless, Huet could perhaps still rightly say that "Father Hardouin worked for forty years to ruin his reputation, without being able to achieve his goal".                              


References

The Prolegomena of Jean Hardouin, tr. by Edwin Johnson (1909)
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015015383212;view=1up;seq=28

Francis De La Pillonniere, An answer to the Reverend Dr. Snape's accusation. , ... Containing an account of his behaviour, and sufferings amongst the Jesuits.......printed for James Knapton, and Tim. Childe (1717)
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=g9dbAAAAQAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s

_____, "L'Harduinisme" in Simon-Augustin Irailh, Querelles littéraires, vol.III (1761) p.19-40.
http://fr.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Page:Irailh_-_Querelles_litt%C3%A9raires,_tome_III.djvu/29&action=edit&redlink=1


Studies:

"Jean Hardouin" Catholic Encyclopedia
http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Jean_Hardouin

"Hardouin" in the Dictionnaire des journalistes: 
http://dictionnaire-journalistes.gazettes18e.fr/journaliste/388-jean-hardouin

R.R. Palmer, Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France (Princeton 1939), p.65-76

Alan Charles Kors, Atheism in France 1650-1729 (1990) p.343-4;366-9.

C.M. Northeast, The Parisian Jesuits and the Enlightenment SVEC (1991) p.81-88;116-9.

Antony Grafton, "Jean Hardouin: the antiquary as pariah", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld InstitutesVol. 62, (1999), pp. 241-267  http://www.jstor.org/stable/751388
Also published as chapter 10 of Bring out your dead: the past as revelation (Harvard: 2001).  [Extracts on Google Books]

There is also a  very good entry on the Jesuit Church of St. Louis in the rue Saint-Antoine and the Jesuits interred there on the Tombes et sepultures site:
http://www.tombes-sepultures.com/crbst_1059.html

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

More royal hair





This gold ring containing the interlaced hair of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI originally belonged to the duchesse de Tourzel and was part of the collection of the comte de Paris sold by Christie's in Paris on 14 October 2008. The estimate was an absurdly low 1,500 to 2,000 Euros; in the end it sold for €25,700!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Was Marie-Antoinette a redhead?


Dumont, Marie-Antoinette

This miniature of Marie-Antoinette represents that irritating internet phenomenon, an image which is endlessly reproduced on Tumblr, Pinterest and various blogs, but with no real information about its provenance. The original post, I think, was the one listed below on the Grand ladies website.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The 9th and 10th Thermidor - e-book



Les 9 et 10 Thermidor: An IIe de la République 
(27 et 28 Juillet 1794)

André Marty, Ed., with Introduction by G. Lenotre
Published by André Marty, 24 Rue Duroc, Paris, 1908

This is a particularly nice resource for Robespierristes from the Picpus Digital Archive. It is a digital version of book published in 1908 by André Marty, with an introduction by G. Lenotre, which contains 77 facsimiles of original prints and documents. Although most of the individual items are available elsewhere on the internet, it is really useful to have them all together, with full annotations. The book itself was produced in a limited edition of 200 copies and is not easy to get hold of - there is one currently for sale on Abebooks for £585! There is no electronic version elsewhere that I can find; this one has been scanned in from a copy in the Northwestern University Library itself.

Here are the links and descriptions:


COLLECTIONS ABOUT ROBESPIERRE AND THERMIDOR.


This document contains 77 facsimiles of original documents from the time of the 9th and 10th Thermidor. The document, published in 1908, was edited by André Marty and includes an introduction by G. Lenotre. The author intended it to allow the reader to follow “minute by minute” the events leading up to the execution of Robespierre in the evening of the 10th Thermidor.


The document is comprised of an introduction, followed by three sections of facsimiled documents.


Les 9 et 10 Thermidor an IIe de la République: Introduction (p/id 1064:1064)
The introduction gives a detailed description of the last days of Robespierre’s life, including scenes from the Assemblée Nationale, Robespierre’s last movements and excerpts from conversations that he was reported to have had. Lenotre then describes how counter-revolutionaries broke into Robespierre’s apartment and wounded him, and how he was subsequently transferred to the Conciergerie and taken to the guillotine.


FACSIMILES - Section 1
 Assembly of 1791
 in the form of a circular medallion.
Bibl.nat. Dept. des estampes
Les 9 et 10 Thermidor an IIe de la République: Avant Thermidor (p/id 1060:1060)
The 9th and 10th Thermidor (i.e. nine and ten), year II of the Republic (July 27 and 28, 1794): Before Thermidor.
The first section of documents is entitled “Avant Thermidor” and assembles articles from the time immediately preceding Robespierre’s death. This section contains thirty-five pieces, including engravings, letters and portraits. Also included are a Republican calendar, with Saints’ names replaced with the names of animals, plants and fruits, an entry card for a session at the Assemblée Nationale signed by Robespierre (in his capacity as Secretary of the Assembly), excerpts from Robespierre’s notebook and a fragment of his clothing. One engraving shows the image of Robespierre operating the guillotine, with the caption “Robespierre guillotinant le bourreau après avoir guillotiné tous les Français.”



FACSIMILES - Section 2
Les Deux Journées,” contains twenty-nine documents centered around the time of Robespierre’s death. This section is comprised mainly of engravings of scenes from the Terror. It also includes, for example, a document containing Robespierre’s last signature and an image of the table upon which Robespierre was laid after being wounded by the counter-revolutionaries.


Session of the Jacobin Club, Musée Carnavalet.



FACSIMILES - Section 3
This is the third section titled, “Pièces Commémoratives,” of "Les 9 et 10 Thermidor" a collection of items from the period immediately following Robespierre’s demise. There are numerous engravings, and a short speech celebrating the death of “l’infâme Robespierre.” One particular engraving shows the image of Robespierre squeezing a human heart and catching the blood in a cup.


Les 9 et 10 Thermidor an IIe de la République: Reproductions (p/id 1063:1063)
The last section," Reproductions" contains a summary of Robespierre's life and an acknowledgment of those who contributed documents and advice to the author.



Picpus: Walled garden of memory: digital archives (Northwestern University)
http://picpus.mmlc.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/Picpus.woa/wa/displayDigitalObject?id=1064

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