Nous y Voilà
There We Are !
Or a new year just the same , that depends .
Nevertheless , the leap was successful .
And already it goes to greet
of the Second Decade
of Our Third Millennium
to be there whenever the mantle of history blows round us , whenever the pictures tell us that live is fight , that like the tides heights and depths come over us , as in our very own everyday life so in the big round about of economy , politics and — culture .
If we look around in our times égalité and political correctness show us our position , only the arts as anchor may open our senses and eyes for an epoch in which
« Quite certainly for the industrious collector
it was neither about something as petty bourgeois snobbery
nor our today’s banal status symbols ,
but the prestige
by which the rarity
and the quantity of purchases
contributed in the eyes of the common man to
– actually self-sufficient –
fame … »
Marc Fumaroli , Richelieu — Patron of the Arts ,
Art , Power , and Politics
Ed. by Hilliard Todd Goldfarb , Ghent 2002 , page 32
“ the authority of the state show(ed) in its culture
… and (Jacques Lemercier’s edifices) consolidated the image of a cultural leading rôle which determined the policy of Colbert and Louis XIV and changed the way France saw herself ”
(Hillary Ballon, Richelieu’s Architecture, in the Montreal/Cologne exhibition catalog Richelieu – Art, Power, and Politics [ striking the sequence! ], 2002, page 258/II).
If we look at
“ th(is) brilliant cultural epoch of Louis XIV ”
(Leporini) we look at a political and therefore social three-master of today downright unimaginable intellectual depth. Where have the waves of égalité ever again got sore like at an anchor as the triad of First Ministers
Ruled France through Louis XIII
Richelieu – Mazarin – Colbert
In seamless sequence! Each at the recommendation of his predecessor! Three statesmen! Of which each one finds himself documented as private connoisseur and “passionate collector” still centuries later!
Cardinal-Duke Richelieu “wanted to present Paris with the first large public library … (and) also founded the Imprimerie Royale” outlasting the times as the “most important French printing office of the 17th century” and whose splendid library the grandnephew – owned beside his own collection! – later bequeathed to the Sorbonne as the uncle’s favorite object and last resting-place.
Richelieu who in a sermon of 1626 reminded the royal family as the ultimate authority of power of their limits by the words
“ You who are great in Him and by Him alone
are less than nothing without Him and without His protection and His grace … ”
And of whom Peter the Great on occasion of a visit to the Sorbonne in 1717 said the memorableness
“ Excellent man , I would give half of my kingdom for a minister like you , so that he teaches me to govern the other half. ”
And whom 1844 Alexandre Dumas …
« Even though ( RICHELIEU ) as good catholic
did not think little of painting
in his rational universe determined by black and white
he nevertheless clearly preferred the engraving …
During his administration
the Rue Saint-Jacques in Paris superseded Nancy and Antwerp
as the most important European centers
for the production of and the trade with prints .
Madrid failed to make use of
this important means of agitation and propaganda
under what the fame of Velasques in the long term ,
Spain’s interests , however , suffered directly »
Marc Fumaroli , op. cit., p. 36
considered one “of the most extraordinary men ever been” (The Three Musketeers).
Interested in literature, theater and the arts – and among these not least the prints – he had his diplomatic lines run hot to bring the Rome-tied great Poussin back to Paris, where he, so the latter himself, “met him with extraordinary kindness” and quartered him almost princely. Nicolas Poussin – the sole authority accepted as artistically superior by the young Charles Le Brun, protégé of the cardinal and his chancellor Seguier, himself connoisseur and collector of degree, and – see below – coming Paris hub and artistic institution plain and simple. With enormous industry and great care in research.
“Under Richelieu (Paris had risen) to the European capital of luxury , the arts and the intellect”. The cardinal himself by the way “a great lover and connoisseur of horses”.
“ Richelieu’s authority primarily rests in his superior intellect. In his rational thinking and acting already the spirit of enlightenment shows ”
(Judith Prokasky in Silver Screen Myth Richelieu – as per Dictionnaire du Grand Siècle present in at least 50 movie pictures – , page 378 of above Richelieu catalog).
Cardinal Mazarin , “less brilliant and mighty than Richelieu , without his creative ideas , but more dexterous, careful and cunning” , with “untiring industry , perspicacious knowledge of human nature and tenacious patience … His fame rests on his external policy which has two great successes to show: the Peace of Westphalia … and the Peace of the Pyrenees”. In 1640 “Richelieu finally (had drawn him) entirely from papal to French service and entrusted him with several difficult missions” (Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed., XI, 379). His second library he bequeathed on the Collège Mazarin and “became by this the founder of today’s Bibl. Mazarine”. Earlier times for instance named Gutenberg’s famous 42-line bible as Mazarin Bible plain and simple.
Colbert de Torcy , “whose favor could be gained by the gift of a book only. He administered his library himself”. A later family heir had the throughout beautifully bound 60000 volumes sold at auction, “while the 15000 vols. m(anuscripts) – the finest private collection of this kind – … were purchased by Louis XV … for the Bibliothèque du Roy”.
“ Strictly honest , of indefatigable capacity for work and a comprehensive view … After four years of meticulous inquiries into the financial state of the government it showed
that the taxes and tributes
were in the most complete disorder
… even taxation and simpler collection of taxes took place. While C. lowered the taxes … he covered the deficit by (not least) reduction of civil servants and pensioners .”
But wars and courtly love of splendor finally claimed their tribute and “The system to lease the taxes led to tremendous blackmailing by the leaseholders”. But arts and sciences, economy and infrastructure remained lastingly on the side of the winner. And he – contemporaries hear the signals –
“ spared no sacrifices to procure security
for the French flag
against the pirates of the Mediterranean Sea ”
(Meyers, op. cit., IV, 201).
And so as then Richelieu brought Poussin back to Paris one generation later Le Brun, meanwhile risen to ultimate greatness, owed to Colbert the return of the at first still young, soon so great etcher and engraver Girard Audran from Rome. For to the master’s conception only he would be able to impart to the transfer to copper of his gigantic 5-piece cycle of paintings of the Batailles d’Alexandre, also called The Triumphs or Histories of Alexander, created for Louis XIV as requested by the king
“ the pictorial and grandiose effect ”
which this set is certified by literature to this very day.
Culminating in Thieme-Becker’s appraisal of 1912 …
“ One can barely imagine more beautiful engravings … ”
and in the résumé of the AKL of 1992 : “ Monuments of the history of print .”
order and grace .
is absolutely necessary ,
otherwise man comes down in the world ”
expresses what since the earliest days is the elixir of life for individuals beyond the road of the masses.
May the new year , the new decade , have a cornucopia for everyday life in store for you , meeting you in health and happiness roundabout.
This then my greeting and wishing today . Furnished with the invitation to view by what a copy far from any égalité unknown to Mother Nature of the above mentioned LeBrun/Audran lighthouse of French-European culture of the grand siècle
niemeyer’s starts into his sixth decade
and after the 350-days 50-Years-Jubilee-Rolling resumes for continuation his monthly Web-AHA!-Series. It is a piece of the corset of 50 years of the way business is seen here . You find it per
LÜDER H. NIEMEYER
ANTIQUARY FOR BOOKS AND FINE ARTS
Unreferenced quotes from the above Richelieu catalog, otherwise the Lexikon des Gesamten Buchwesen of 1935/37.
„ Vielen Dank für Alles, liebe Grüße und schönes Wochenende von der Mosel Herzlichst “
(Frau A. B., 4. April 2003)