The portraits of Agnes or the construction of an image
The sources of the Agnès Sorel legend are numerous: pictorial, sculptural, graphic and literary. From the moment of her death, her physical and moral image took shape for posterity. Her tombstone mentions that she "feels pity on all people ". The image of a pious and charitable maiden is therefore developed by the decorative arrangement of the tombstone. Similarly, in the dedication placed on the rear of the dais, she is said to "willingly protect the poor", "gentle in her words, appeasing quarrels and scandals". An image of goodness and gentleness that erased the image of the temptress and intriguer. The criticisms of the Court and those of the dauphin's entourage thus became peripheral.
The portrait of Agnès Sorel or presumed to be her was executed around 1452 by Jean Fouquet (c.1420 - c.1480). The painter and miniaturist from Tours was at that time in the service of Étienne Chevalier, then Treasurer of France, who commissioned this work. This diptych, intended for the collegiate church of Notre-Dame de Melun, was originally installed near the tomb of Catherine Budé, the wife of the commissioner who died prematurely in 1452. This 'iconic' portrait also echoes another work by Fouquet, a genuine illuminated replica of an enthroned Virgin and Child in the Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier, contemporary to the Virgin of Melun.
In the process, a new image of Agnès Sorel is developed.
- Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier. Etienne Chevalier presented by Saint Stephen to the Virgin and Child, c.1452-1460, ms71, folio 4 recto, Chantilly, Musée Condé, RMN
- Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier. Etienne Chevalier presented by Saint Stephen to the Virgin and Child, c.1452-1460, ms71, folio 5 recto, Chantilly, Musée Condé, RMN
- Alfons VERHEYEN, The Virgin and Child surrounded by angels, known as the Virgin of Melun, France, 20th century, after Jean Fouquet, ca. 1452-1455, oil painting on wood, 128 x 114, Cité royale de Loches / Conseil départemental d'Indre-et-Loire.
- Portrait of Etienne Chevalier with Saint Stephen, second part of the diptych of the Virgin of Melun, Austria, 21st century, after Jean Fouquet, ca. 1452-1455, oil painting on wood (facsimile).
- Anonymous, Presumed portrait of Agnès Sorel, 16th century, French school, Inv. 33500. The Louvre.
- Louis BOUDAN, Marble tomb in the middle of the choir of the Church of N. D. in the Chasteau of Loches, drawing, c.1695. [Vertical view]. Conseil départemental d'Indre et Loire / Cité royale de Loches.
- Louis BOUDAN, Marble tomb in the middle of the choir of the Church of N. D. in the Chasteau of Loches, drawing, c.1695. [longitudinal view]. Conseil départemental d'Indre et Loire / Cité royale de Loches.
- Francesco DA LAURANA (attributed to), Bust of Agnès Sorel [Inv. 1836.1.9; 641], 15th century, marble [presumed death mask]. Musée du Berry (Bourges).
- Anonymous, Bust of Agnès Sorel, 15th-16th century, Paris, Inv. MU403. Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA).