So, uh…I kind of let this series die. Much like Marie let her husband die hours after her coronation. But now I am coming at it with the Defibrillator of Derision, to resuscitate the wonder that is the hubris of Marie de’ Medici. For the earlier installments, see here.
So, the last time we checked in with the Queen of Hearts (Which May or May Not Be Stabbed), she had just taken the reins from her suddenly deceased husband. Eagles shot lightning, snakes breathed fire, and bare-bosomed personifications of France frolicked.
The next painting, “Council of the Gods,” does not actually feature Marie. Although with a title like that, doubtless Marie would have thought she fit right in.
Instead, it focuses on the Greek gods, lounging around and chatting in various states of undress. I think more councils should take this policy. I mean, they tell you in public speaking to envision everyone in the audience naked – imagine how much more confidence everyone would have if it were true!
The exception to the happy lounging theme here is over on the right, with these miserable-looking fellows being run out of town.
According to the oracle that is Wikipedia, these represent “vices such as Discord, Hate, Fury, and Envy” who are being "overcome" by Apollo and Pallas. Frankly, I don’t know why they look so afraid of their attackers. After all, they are armed with torches and snakes, which seem like they would be far more effective at such short range than their assailants’ weapons.
Apollo comes at them with a bow, looking more like he’s offering it to them than attacking them. I must observe that for the god of the sun, he is EXTREMELY pale. I guess in his line of work he uses SPF 1,000,000? Also, at first glance I thought that Pallas’ weapon of choice here was a wildly brandished mop.
Meanwhile, Venus tries to distract Mars with the promise of sexytime with the goddess of love and beauty, but we can all see to which glowing, nude figure Mars’ gaze is drawn.
So yeah, this one is considered “one of the least understood” paintings in the Marie de’ Medici cycle, presumably because it does not feature Marie de’ Medici.
This flaw is fixed in the next painting.
In “The Regent Militant: The Victory at Jülich,” there is no doubt left to the imagination as to who is the most important person in the universe. She’s all like, “I am the QUEEN of FRANCE, bitches.”
Unfortunately she is mistaken in her choice of terminology, because of course that is not a female dog in her entourage, but rather a male lion. And frankly, I am far more impressed by the somewhat demure lady patting the lion than I am by the queen on her horse. If there is one thing we have learned from art, it is that being saddled up will not protect you from an attack of big cats.
The last detail I’ll observe here is this guy, playing a horn:
The Wikipedia description says that “Fame in the right side of the painting pushes air through the trumpet so powerfully that a burst of smoke comes out.” I take this to mean that her fame, like most, was primarily blowing smoke.
All images found here.