Agnès Sorel, the influence of the « Lady of beauty »

And if the influencers, who flood the digital sphere today, had found their pioneer in the Middle Ages? The royal city of Loches offers the portrait of a pioneer among the « powerful women » in the exhibition « Agnès Sorel, the influencer », for the 600e birthday of the official favorite of King Charles VII.

She has never ceased to fascinate, inspiring artists, poets and filmmakers from the Renaissance to the present day, dazzled by her charisma and her beauty. Witness the painting by Jean Fouquet The Virgin of Melun who « belongs today to the collective imagination », observes Jean-François Thull, head of the royal city and curator of the exhibition.

untitled princess

The route alludes to the love story maintained from 1443 with Charles VII, the husband of Queen Marie of Anjou, who will show his unfailing admiration for his untitled princess, showering her with gifts, jewelry and properties. . The extract from If Paris was told to us, directed in 1956 by Sacha Guitry, stages their first meeting which changed the destiny of a young woman born into a penniless family of the minor nobility.

But the curator has above all endeavored to put into perspective “the little-discussed parts of his life. She has too often been reduced to the sulphurous image of the « king’s prostitute », when she revealed herself at court, first to Isabelle de Lorraine (Queen of Sicily), who learned everything”. Her intelligence, her spirit of conciliation, her generosity, allied to a great culture, have definitively introduced her into the highest spheres of power.

Hygiene and beauty

The thirty paintings, sculptures, objects but also a lock of hair or bones, lent by 18 cultural institutions feed this bias. In her apartments, on the first floor of the house, which she occupied for short stays, the objects situate “the character in his time”featuring costumes, such as a replica of an elegant black dress and the contents of her travel chests.

“Hygiene and beauty become important again at the end of the Middle Ages. Agnès Sorel brought new habits, learning cosmetics at the court of Anjou,” continues the commissioner. In full glory, she assumed her expensive lifestyle. This is perhaps what lost the « Lady of beauty », who died in 1450, at the age of 28, from a mysterious mercury poisoning.


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