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Anna Boleyn rywalką Wenus?Anne Boleyn : the Rival of Venus?

Anna Boleyn rywalką Wenus?

Wszyscy dobrze znamy słowa Franciszka I o pięknej Wenus. W książce ‘6 żon Henryka VIII’ Alison Weir napisała ;

‘Nawet francuski król Franciszek I był oczarowany Anną i napisał ;

Venus était blonde, on m’a dit:

L’on voit bien, qu’elle est brunette.’[1]

‘Wenus była blondynką, tak mi powiedziano ; ale teraz widzę jasno, że jest brunetką!’

Zawsze zastanawiałam się skąd właściwie wiadomo, że Franciszek I miał na myśli właśnie Annę Boleyn? Postanowiłam przyjrzeć się temu bliżej i doszłam do naprawdę zaskakujących informacji!

Detail from Boticelli's 'Birth of Venus'

We can certainly say that Anne Boleyn was not considered beautiful in her times. Typical beauty at Tudor court had blonde hair, pale skin and blue eyes, and Anne had dark complexion, dark hair and enchanting ‘black eyes’. She certainly was not a typical ‘English Rose’ but she was different and interesting. In her book ‘Six Wives of Henry VIII’ Alison Weir states that ;

‘Even King Francis was smitten by the fascinating Anne, and wrote :

Venus était blonde, on m’a dit:

L’on voit bien, qu’elle est brunette.’[1]

‘Venus was blonde, I’ve been told: Now I see that she’s a brunette!’  I was always very curious about this quote, and I never came across the information that Francis I was actually referring to Anne Boleyn.  Dr. Susan Bordo’s recent article made me question this quote once again and I decided to immerse myself into the primary sources and books, to find out whether King Francis was referring to Anne Boleyn when speaking about Venus.

In her book Alison Weir does not cite the reference so it is really hard to get to primary sources. Weir only gives us a hint:

‘For the duration of her stay in France, see Herbert, and also Emmanuel von Meteren’s Histoire des Pays Bas: Crispin, Lord of Milherve’s Metrical History (1618) ; Epistre contenant le process criminal fait a lencontre de la Royne Boullant d’Angleterre by Lancelot de Carles, Clement Marot, and Crispin de Milherve (1545 ; included in La Grande Bretagne devant l’Opinion Francaise by G.Ascoli, Paris, 1927), Histoire de la Royne Anne de Boullant (MS. In the Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, before 1550) ; and Charles de Bourgevilles Les Recherches et Antiquites de la Province de Neustrie’ (1583).’[2]

In her book ‘Anne Boleyn: a young Queen to be’ Josephine Wilkinson states that :

‘In matters of dress her tastes were said to have been adopted by other ladies, although, we are assured, none looked so well as Anne, who was described as the rival of Venus[3]

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    ISBN:  9781848945371