Cane and eroticism


The Cane has great presence

at the Court of King Louis XIII

The cane really became very fashionable at the Court of King Louis XIII. Alexandre Dumas depicts D'artagnan wearing a cane. We read in the "Trois Mousquetaires" (the three musketeers):


"At ten precisely, d'Artagnan left M. de Tréville, who thanked him for his information, recommended him to always continue serving the king and the queen, and went back to his lounge. But down the stairs, d'Artagnan remembered that he forgot his cane".

Louis XIII par Champaigne

So, the cane was brought into line with current taste by our devilishly severe Louis XIII, who remained in power from 1614 to 1643, together with his Ministry and man of god, Richelieu, who wasn't precisely a joker. the cane in the Court is neither exuberant, nor licentious. Let pass the rigor!

However, this apparent austerity must to some extent be tempered. During the first half of the Seventieth century, where debauchery rhymes with bigotry, libertine outlook with critical thoughts, frivolity with preciosity, where curiosity cabinets mix with speech from believer about the non-believer and its contrary, the eye over pleasure is ambiguous and alternatively severe, lustful or voluptuous, without even suggesting the word eroticism.

Talented painters of this century have echoed this ambiguity: Molière, whom theater, in particular the "Tartuffe", bring out these many facets; La Fontaine, whom licentious stories, such as "How spirit comes to girls", shed the same half-tone light.

In the Agrippa d'Aubigné biography [1], we may read: "Further on, in 1618, he will suffer to see his son Constant (the father of Mme de Maintenon, born Françoise d’Aubigné) convert to the Catholicism and then have a life of debauchery." This brings up Ninon de Lenclos, the beautiful and renowned friend of the not less well known Mme de Maintenon.

The very serious Cardinal of Richelieu was a protector of the theater and arts.He owned in particular works of Rubens, Poussin and the Titian

Rubens eau et terre

The endless wars caused many beautiful things, furniture and more to disappear.

Palpable evidences are extremely rare.

Then the writings and the paintings are the vehicle for the spirit of this century.

We thank Rubens for his eye, with this pretty chaste scene, though the body is left bare.

Vermeer boucle d'oreille

And Vermeer for this "earring", certainly an eye which isn't so chaste, though the body is here fully covered.


[1] Biblioweb website

Sources, credits, links, bibliography are referenced externally.

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