There is nothing like the Metropolitan Museum of Art for constant discovery and a wealth of treasures. Whenever I go, new things attract my attention and add to my understanding of my characters and their world.
I am quite sure that I have learned as much by the art and architecture that I have been able to see—starting in Pittsburgh, ongoing here in New York, of course throughout France, and that excellent exhibition in Chicago—to compensate in some measure for my inability to read original French source documents.
Today, just walking through the French Renaissance rooms of the Met, I saw several of “my characters”—pieces that I do not think had been on display since I’ve been working on this. There, all in one cabinet, were a bronze medal of Louise de Savoie, and enamel and bronze representations of her son François I and his symbolic salamander (which also appear in stone on the walls of the Alwyn Court apartment house on West 58th Street).
There was also an enamel of Henri II, the son of Anne’s daughter Claude and King François I, showing that he inherited his father’s long pointy nose, as well as the crown of France and Duchy of Brittany after the death of his older brother, the Dauphin François.
There were six large wooden relief panels from the Château de Galion, which Cardinal Georges d'Amboise had built—two showed his portrait, and one that of Louis XII.
The double wood panels were too high for me to photograph; I asked a very tall man to take the photos and engaged in a nice conversation with him, his wife and son, visiting from Holland and finding the museum wonderful.