Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chenonceau and Leonardo

Two Loire Valley chateaux today, about an hour drive east from Chinon: the Chateau de Chenonceau near the small village of Chenonceaux, and the Chateau du Clos Lucé in Amboise. Both are notable, but for quite different reasons. Chenonceau is one of most famous chateaux in France, because of its size, its location spanning the River Cher, its ornate elegance; and also because, for part of its long history, it was the source of contention between King Henry II's queen and his mistress. (See Wikipedia).

View from a formal garden along the river

Upper half of the elegantly carved entry door, with ceiling arches in the background

Fireplace in the kitchen, which has the biggest collection of copper pots we've ever seen

Bed of the mistress, Diane of Poitiers

Roses in one of the many spectacular flower arrangements in Chenonceau

The Chateau du Clos Lucé is notable because Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life there (1516–1518) as the guest of Francis I, who gave him the small chateau, connected to the royal Chateau d'Amboise, as recognition of his stature as an artist and his utility as a military engineer. The exhibits in Clos Lucé largely focus on his inventions, but reproductions of the three paintings he brought to France from Italy are also prominently displayed.

Two views of a reconstruction of Leonardo's workroom

A holographic video, showing Leonardo discussing the Mona Lisa with a friend

Children playing with a life-size model of Leonardo's design for a tank, in the garden of Clos Lucé

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