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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

the  Entry

Charles Le Brun, Alexander's Triumphant Entry into Babylon

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

RICHELIEU

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 ,

in

Richelieu

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

Wilhelm Kaiser as Cardinal Richelieu

Ruled  France  through  Louis XIII

Wilhelm Kaiser as Richelieu

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 .”

Karlheinz Stockhausen’s

“ Beauty
means
order  and  grace .
Regular  meeting
with  beauty
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

The Triumphs (or The Battles or The Histories) of Alexander the Great

 

Cordially

 

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.


„ die (Ridinger-)Graphiken (Th. 9-12 per 28.885) sind unversehrt … angekommen, herzlichen Dank. Es sind wundervolle Arbeiten, wir sind sehr begeistert … “

(Herr R. G., 30. Dezember 2009)