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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, Le Colloque de Poissy

The Colloqui of Poissy was a religious meeting that took place from September 9 to October 9, 1561, trying unsuccessfully a reconciliation between the French Catholics and Huguenots. It had been arranged by Catherine de Medici, the queen-mother and regent of France. The Colloqui was doomed to failure from the very beginning, as the heads of the Catholic Church were strongly against, while the Huguenots were not intending to become Catholic again. However the queen appointed a small committee of five Catholics and five Huguenots that drafted a vague statement of faith that could be interpreted either way and consequently was condemned by both parties. The following spring France would sink into the Wars of Religion. And in 1572 the same Catherine de Medici would instigate for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day.

Coming now to the painting of Robert-Fleury, you will note Catherine de Medici, and near her the King Charles IX of France, who was by then 11 years old. The personage speaking is Theodore Beza, French Huguenot theologian and scholar. The two Catholic prelates are the Papal Legate Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este and Diego Laynez, Superior General of the Jesuits.




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