This thesis is concerned with Cardinal Richelieu's interest in
the visual arts. For the last tv/enty years of Louis XIII's reign
Richelieu was one of the most important patrons of his day, and it is
in the following fields that I seek to demonstrate his interest and
In Chapter One I discuss Richelieu's houses, apart from the
Palais Cardinal and the Chateau de Rueil. Attention is focussed
primarily on their contents and decoration. Richelieu inherited,
rented, bought, built and was given innumerable buildings, and the
most important of these are described.
In Chapter Two Richelieu's two main residences, the Palais
Cardinal and the Chateau de Rueil are discussed in the light of their
hitherto unpublished inventories, taken following the Cardinal's death.
For the first time it is possible to give a full description of the
furniture and collections of paintings and objets d'art belonging to
Chapter Three describes Richelieu's gardens, in which he took
an intense, personal interest. It seems that the art of gardening
and gardens was one which touched him deeply.
The two final Chapters are concerned with Richelieu's iconography, Chapter Four dealing with the straightforward portraiture of
the Cardinal in several mediums, including painted portraits, engrav¬
ings, medals, portrait busts and a statue. Chapter Five discusses
Richelieu's allegorical and mythological iconography, and the uses
to which this was put. The gallery, where a series of paintings
could comment at length upon a theme, was an ideal vehicle for this
kind of iconography, and those galleries connected with Richelieu are
described. Other mediums exploring allegorical and mythological registers include engravings, medals and emblems.
Finally, I append notes on the agents Richelieu employed both
to collect works of art, and to supervise building projects.
The second volume of this thesis is devoted to a transcription
of the inventories of the Palais Cardinal, the Château de Rueil, and
of Richelieu's documents and papers, and it has a separate Introduction.