- Le Cardinal Jean Du Bellay: diplomatie et culture dans l’Europe de la Renaissanceéd. par Cédric Michon et Loris Petris
Cardinal Jean Du Bellay (1498–1560) is remembered for his patronage of Rabelais and his kinsman Joachim; he was also an accomplished Latin poet, a keen collector of ancient artwork, and a prominent diplomatic emissary for François I erand Henri II. This volume stems from an interdisciplinary conference prompted by the ongoing edition of Du Bellay’s correspondence by Loris Petris, Rémy Scheurer, and their collaborators. A first section retraces Du Bellay’s roots in a family of provincial nobles who, over three to four generations, increasingly provided service to the royal court (Laurent Bourquin); his evolving relations with the German princes and the Holy Roman Empire (Thomas Nicklas); and his role in defending France’s interests with respect to Reformation England (David Potter). From an ecclesiastical angle, Cédric Michon, Alain Tallon, and Scheurer study the cardinal’s benefices in France; his advocacy of the evangelical movement; and his accession to the deanship of the Sacred College. Five chapters review the man of letters: Marie Barral-Baron considers the prelate as a reader of Erasmus, while Perrine Galand, Richard Cooper, and David Amherdt highlight different aspects of his poetry. Nathalie Guillaud reflects on the reasons why the cardinal, unlike his brother Guillaume, did not take up historiography. A fourth cluster investigates the cardinal’s sojourn in Rome, namely his household and friends (Petris); the gardens of his villa (Flaminia Bardati and Renata Samperi); and his interaction with the contemporary trade in antiquities (Barbara Furlotti). Next, Carmelo Occhipinti considers French perceptions of the Rome of Julius III and Michelangelo, while Guido Rebecchini revisits the volatile relationship between Du Bellay and Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici, pointing to the role of Giovan Francesco Valier, Ippolito’s Venetian-born secretary who spied for Du Bellay. Guillaume Alonge, finally, discusses Ludovico di Canossa, Bishop of Bayeux, and the secret agent Giovan Gioacchino da Passano, both of whom belonged to the Du Bellay brothers’ international network. The collective bibliography, handsome layout, and wealth of illustrations enhance the volume’s unity, while five appendices give access to significant archival and literary evidence: (i) an edition (based on BnF MS Dupuy 810) and French translation of Du Bellay’s Silva Langaeana, by Amherdt; (ii) a diplomatic Mémoire sur les affaires d’Angleterre(1539–1540), edited by Guillaud; (iii) three archival documents, including his will; (iv) two lists of the cardinal’s household; and (v) three inventories, of his statuary, chapel, and wardrobe — all by Petris. Du Bellay emerges from [End Page 237]this 360-degree appraisal a much more polyvalent political and cultural figure, albeit one with varying influence. Notwithstanding some nit-pickings (such as the bibliography’s listing of Renata Ago’s Economia baroccaunder R, the impractical endnotes to the Annexes, or the mostly cursory references to Joachim Du Bellay), this multi-faceted book will constitute an obligatory port of call for any future discussions of the cardinal and his world.