The revival of the image of the favourite in the 19th century

The 19th century was certainly a peak in the development and dissemination of the imagery surrounding Agnès Sorel. This was primarily the result of a rediscovery of national history that took place shortly after the storms of the French Revolution.

At the beginning of the contemporary era, the evocation of Agnès Sorel is thus carried by the progressive rediscovery of the Middle Ages in France, initiated in the arts by the troubadour style.

Agnès Sorel thus took a prominent place in the national imagination that developed in the first half of the 19th century. Literary writers attributed patriotic feelings to the favourite, which were also reflected in the iconography.

Academic painting also contributes to the revisiting of the history of the figure and to the establishment of an iconic image of the royal favourite, defined by the work of Jean Fouquet.

The iconographic production of Agnès Sorel is abundant, corresponding to the rise of popular imagery and the return to favour of "gothic" models. Interpretations follow one another in which, in turn, Agnès Sorel is presented as the temptress and seductress, or as the one who revolutionized the fashion of her time.

The myth frees itself from history to live at its own pace and according to its own logic.


Objects :

  • Agnès Sorel's tomb, in the tower that bears her name in the royal residence of Loches, lithograph, s.d. (ca. 1845).
  • Fleury RICHARD, Charles VII writing his farewell to Agnès Sorel. [Inv. M.M.2000-21], c. 1804, oil painting. Museum of the Château de la Malmaison and Bois-Préau.
  • -G. COTTA, Joan of Arc card game, 1804, Tübingen - Drawings by Gräfin Charlotta von Jennison-Walworth. Inv. IS.2004.391 [Queen of Diamonds and King of Hearts]. Musée Français de la Carte à Jouer (Issy-les-Moulineaux).
  • François SOUCHON (1787-1857), Agnès Sorel, mistress of Charles VII [Inv. Pl.1677], 19th century, drawing (print). [Ht: 0.48 m; W: 0.366 m]. Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.
  • Henri Lafosse, Agnès Sorel, - Paris : L. de Potter, 1844. - 3 vol. (358, 328, 411) ; 22 cm. Bibliothèque municipale de Tours
  • Alexandre Evariste FRAGONARD (1780-1850), The death of Agnès Sorel at Jumièges Abbey, 19th century oil painting on canvas, [Inv. 2010.0.380] [Height: 84.5 cm (with frame); Width: 110 cm (with frame); Depth: 8.5 cm (with frame)]. Villa-Musée Jean Honoré Fragonard (Grasse).
  • Philippe COMAIRAS (1803-1875), Portrait of Agnès Sorel, Oil on canvas, H. 65 cm ; W. 54,5 cm, 19th century, Inv. AF 75. Musée des Beaux - Arts de Tours.
  • Anonymous, Agnès Sorel, sd, print, AD.8Fi0591. Archives départementales d'Indre-et-Loire.
  • -D. François. Mysteries of the old castles of France or secret loves of kings and queens, princes and princesses, as well as the great characters of the time, around 1860.
  • Alexandre Louis Robert MILLIN DU PERREUX (1764-1843), House known as Agnès Sorel's in Beaulieu-lès-Loches (1829), oil on canvas, H. 23 cm; W. 31 cm. Millin du Perreux legacy, 1843. Inv. 1843-1-2. Musée des Beaux - Arts de Tours.