The mythological characterisation of Anne of Austria in the Castle Howard bust relates to the paintings of the pre-eminent artist working in the court of Louis XIII, the Roman trained Simon Vouet (1590-1649). Compare, for example, with Vouet’s Polymnie, Muse de l'éloquence in the Louvre (inv. no. M.I. 1119) or his Euterpe sold at Sotheby’s New York on 30 January 2014, lot 113, which both show classicising female deities wearing chiton with one bosom revealed. Significantly, Vouet painted an Allegorical Portrait of Anne of Austria as Minerva (Hermitage, St. Petersburg, executed after 1643), in which the Queen appears in a chiton with a wreath in her hair, her assimilation to the warrior goddess of wisdom made explicit at a time when she was seeking to establish her infant son’s succession and quash insurrection. The open chiton concurrently lends a relaxed air to the bust, recalling the Baroque innovations evident in Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Portrait of Costanza Bonarelli (Bargello, Florence, circa 1636-1638, inv. no. 81.5), which heralds the beginnings of the fashion for presenting sitters déshabillé.
In terms of sculptural tradition, the bust relates to works created by Netherlandish and French sculptors trained in Rome in the first decades of the 17th century. Parallels can be seen with portrait busts produced by the Flemish born sculptor Francois Dieussart (circa 1600-1661), who was active in Rome between circa 1622 and 1636. Note, for example, his busts of Pieter Spiering van Silfvercrona and Johanna Doré in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. nos. BK-1971-115-A and BK-1971-115-B) or his bust of Prince Charles of England, also in the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. BK-NM-5758). Dieussart spent much of his career in Holland and in England, where he worked for Charles II and his wife Henrietta Maria, Anne of Austria’s sister-in-law. Flemish sculptors were renowned for their sculptural portraits at this time, chief among them Jérôme Duquesnoy (1602-1654), who brought the innovations of Roman Baroque portraiture to the North, as can be seen in his Bust of Antoine Triest, Bishop of Gand, in the Louvre (circa 1650; inv. no. RF4651). Duquesnoy spent much of his career in Rome, but, in 1643, journeyed to France where his brother François (1594-1643) had been appointed sculptor to Louis XIII; the voyage was tragically cut short, however, by his brother’s death. The most prominent exponent of an Italianate Baroque style at the French court at this time was Louis Lerambert (1620-1670), who worked in Rome and was subsequently trained in Paris by Simon Vouet. Lerambert’s sculptures exhibit the classicism of Vouet’s figures, with loose drapes sensuously revealing the human from, whilst his portraiture, exemplified by his Bust of Mazarin (marble, Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris), with its monumental truncation, dramatic verism and interest in costume detail, recalls contemporary Roman busts.
Anne of Austria: 17th-Century Minerva
Anne of Austria was one of the most powerful women in 17th-century Europe. The daughter of Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria, she led a pious and contented childhood, developing a close bond with her parents, which was unusual at that time for an Infanta, who were usually separated from their parents. Her life altered dramatically when, at the age of 14, she married Louis XIII of France (then in his minority), a union sanctioned by Pope Paul V and instigated by queen regent Marie de’Medici with the intention of bringing Catholic France and Spain into a lasting alliance. This union, which had, it was said, been foretold in the stars – the couple were born within a few days of each other – was sadly destined to be an unhappy one. Queen Anne, determined to retain her Spanish identity, refused to dress according to French fashions, and surrounded herself with highborn Spanish ladies-in-waiting. Louis XIII shunned his wife, refusing to consummate the marriage until he was literally strong-armed into doing so by his favourite, Charles d’Albert, duc de Luynes. Tensions were exacerbated by the domineering force of queen dowager Marie de’Medici, who, having led a capricious and unpopular regency at her son’s expense, was subsequently imprisoned, but later returned to court, demanding precedence over her daughter-in-law at all times. The queen’s poor relations with the king were further strained by her inability to produce an heir, after several miscarriages. In 1625 rumours swirled that she was having an affair with George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and the two were banned from meeting each other by Louis XIII. The king’s mistrust of the queen was compounded by the influence of the malevolent Cardinal Richelieu who suspected her of siding with her brother, Philip IV of Spain, after France had declared war on the Spanish in 1635; she was forced to submit to her correspondence being monitored by Richelieu’s spies at all times. The queen’s alleged trysts with Buckingham and the scheming of Richelieu at her expense are, famously, at the heart of Alexandre Dumas’ romantic novel, The Three Musketeers (1844).
The turning point in Anne of Austria’s life came with the birth of a Dauphin, the future Louis XIV, ‘a marvel when it was least expected’ according to the Gazette de France (Fraser, op. cit.). This cemented the queen’s position at court and, to some extent, reconciled her with the king and the queen dowager; a second son, Philippe, later Monsieur, duc d’Orleans, was born in 1640. With the untimely death of Louis XIII in 1643, Anne, contrary to the wishes of the late king, established a regency with the support of Pierre Séguier, Président of the Parlement, and, to widespread surprise, appointed Jules Mazarin, a competent deputy of her enemy Richelieu, as her Chief Minister. Her sole aim throughout the regency was to establish her infant son’s reign. Under her regency, Mazarin successfully subdued a series of popular and aristocratic revolts, known as La fronde (the sling, after the instruments used to cast stones at windows of Mazarin’s supporters), which had arisen out of ire at the centralist and authoritarian policies first instigated by Richelieu under Louis XIII. Mazarin’s victory resulted in the establishment of absolute monarchy under Louis XIV, whose mistrust of the Parisian mob following the fronde led to the establishment of the French royal court outside of Paris at Versailles.
The Castle Howard bust affirms Anne of Austria’s position as a woman of legendary fortitude. This characterisation was especially apparent at the time of the Regency, being seen in Vouet’s portrait (discussed above), and also in an engraving by Michel Lasne (1590-1667) (Grand Palais, Paris, inv. no. LP29-4(2)), which shows queen regent Anne standing next to Minerva, who embraces her; the assimilation between virtuous goddess and queen being made explicit in print. Anne of Austria is likely personified as Minerva in the Castle Howard bust, in accordance with this contemporary iconography. However, it might be considered that the unusual crescent-shaped lock of hair on her forehead may be an allusion to the crescent moon of Diana, goddess of the hunt, the moon and childbirth.
Anne of Austria at Castle Howard
The bust is first mentioned as being at Castle Howard by the 5th Earl in his 1805 Listing of Sculptures (op. cit.). This reference is highly significant for the reason that the 5th Earl famously acquired pictures from the Orléans collection in 1798, which were subsequently displayed in the Orléans Room. The Orleans collection had been amassed principally by Anne of Austria’s grandson, Philippe II, duc d’Orléans (1674-1723), and it had, until the Revolution, been housed in the Palais Royal, the queen’s residence after it had been gifted to her husband by Cardinal Richelieu upon his death in 1642. Lord Carlisle would consequently have been all too aware of the significance of possessing a bust of Anne of Austria, and it seems likely, given its absence in earlier inventories, that the marble was acquired because of the sitter’s identity and her relevance to the collection. This hypothesis is given credence by the presence of a miniature depicting Anne of Austria in the collection (now no longer in the collection; Hawkesbury, op. cit., p. 21, no. 26). Lord Carlisle did not acquire the bust at the 1798 Orléans sale, since pictures only were included in the sale. He must, therefore, have purchased it subsequently.
Lord Hawkesbury, Catalogue of the Portraits, Miniatures, &c., at Castle Howard, The Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society for the Year Ending October 1903, XI, 1904, p. 21, no. 26; M. Vickers, 'Rupert of the Rhine: A new portrait by Dieussart and Bernini's Charles I,' Apollo, March, 1978, pp. 161-169; C. Avery, 'François Dieussart (c. 1600-61), Portrait Sculptor to the Courts of Northern Europe,' Studies in European Sculpture, London, 1981, pp. 205-235; F. Scholten, 'François Dieussart, Constantijn Huygens, and the Classical Ideal in Funerary Sculpture', Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, vol. 25, no. 4 (1997), pp. 303-328; M. Boudon Machuel, 'François Dieussart in Rome: Two Newly Identified Works', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 145, no. 1209 (Dec, 2003), pp. 833-840; C. Avery, 'The Collector Earl and his Modern Marbles. Thomas Howard and François Dieussart,' Apollo, June, 2006, pp. 46-53; A. Bacchi, C. Hess, J. Montagu and A-L. Desmas, Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture, exh. cat. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Los Angeles, 2008, pp. 192-195, no. 4.3; O. Mallick, Spiritus intus agit'. Die Patronagepolitik der Anna von Österreich. Untersuchungen zur Inszenierungsstrategie, Hofhaltungspraxis und Freundschaftsrhetorik einer Königin (1643-1666), Ph.D. dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2012/2013
Sotheby's would like to thank Dr Oliver Mallick for his kind assistance with the identification of the sitter and the cataloguing of this lot.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.