Charles VII (1403-1461), King of France

Audio Guide: 4436

Charles VII ("Charlie") was the son of Charles VI (the dad). The dad earned himself the title of "the beloved" before going mad in and being renamed "the mad".  He was reported to babble, think he was made of glass or run around the castle like a looney to the point that a wall had to be built for him to not escape. At the end of his life, he disinherited his son Charlie. Thus Charlie was left with an ongoing hundred years war with England over the French throne and  the legacy of his dad. He claimed himself king on the grounds that his dad was crazy and earned himself the title "The Victorious" by winning a hundred years war! Do you know who else helped France win? Jean D'arc - the maid of Orleans -- a peasant girl who led the french armies against the english and helped won the war. She was burnt at the stake though...

The painting is by Jean Fouquet (NOT pronounced Fu**it).  He invented the miniature portrait (how important...) and was the first french artist to have travelled to Italy to learn from the masters (though this particular portrait has been painted before that trip and reflects Flemish influences). Fouquet is associated with paintings which form the french national identity, cause he worked at the court and that was the court's agenda at the time.This particular painting has inspired a better known one -- Jean Clouet's "Portrait of Francois I, King of France" -- a sort of male version of the Mona Lisa.

By the way, look at the king royally looking past you in the painting! God forbid eye contact. :) That only came with the Mona Lisa. 

The dad made the economy better, so he was called "Charles the Beloved." He was also called "Charles the Mad" because he would run around the castle, babbling things, thinking that he was made of glass. He had an inherited disease.

All this time the 100 years war was going on with England, which was all about the inheritance of France, i.e. who owned France. Charles the Mad disinherited the dude in the painting, Charlie. Maybe on a whim?? Charlie was having none of it and say "yo, my dad is mad" and he came on to the throne, which was a very good thing because he won the war with the help of a famous friend -- Jeanne of Arc (Joan of Arc). She kicked some serious ass before eventually being burned on the stake herself.

The painting is by Jean Fouquet (NOT pronounced "Fu** it"). blah blah blah.