Thursday, October 6, 2016

Château d'Écouen

Built in 1538-1550 for Anne de Montmorency, the Constable of France.

Yes, a man named Anne. No, I have no idea why. But I did discover that his mother was also named Anne. Here he is in a drawing of 1530.

The architect of the house was probably Jean Bullant, but this is uncertain, as are many other details about the design and construction.

The chapel.

Piece of the tile floor. The house is not far from Paris and these days it is the National Museum of the Renaissance.

It was a good choice for this, since it came well furnished with Renaissance treasures, like this fireplace.

Or this.

Some of the 16th-century treasures now displayed there.

Famous mechanical clock of the early 17th century.

Cup of Anne of Brittany, made in Venice around 1500.


G. Verloren said...

"Yes, a man named Anne. No, I have no idea why."

There are actually two different names with the same spelling of Anne, but different pronunciations, etymologies, and usages.

The one most English speakers are familiar with turns out to be the French version of Anna, itself a variation of Hannah, which is a variation of the Hebrew name Channah from the Old Testament. This name came to England in the 1200s, and was Anglicized into the still quite common Ann, as well as used in the more French form of Anne.

The other name is of Frisian origin. It possesses two syllables (AHN-nə), and it is used for both genders. It is the shortened from of the Germanic "arn", meaning eagle, and is related to names such as Arnold, Arndt, Arne, and the French name Arnaud.

If I had to judge, I'd say it makes more sense to presume he simply had this other Germanic name despite being a Frenchman, as such things were not at all uncommon.

Unknown said...

According to French Wikipedia, Anne was named after Anne of Brittany, the Queen of France and his godmother. The article comments that Anne was an androgynous name in that era, and I dimly recall seeing other French noblemen with Anne as an element in their names. But I can't think of another with "Anne" as their name in that bald fashion.

G. Verloren said...

English wikipedia says much the same, but phrases it in a way that represents the connection as tenuous, or in effect hearsay.

Moreover, the English language page on the Montmorency family solely cites the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, which I do not feel is above suspicion of error or invention. And the French language page for Anne himself is flagged for poor citation.

In particular, it offers no citation for the claim that the name was treated as epicene at the time. Perhaps it was, but it seems unlikely to me that a traditionally feminine Biblical name would eventually become gender-neutral, only to then revert back to being solely feminine even later on, so without some evidence to suggest this was the case, I must treat it as baseless conjecture.