In June 2008 a portrait by Jean Leblond – Louis XIII’s painter ordinary – was sold by Christies.
The sitter was ‘presumed to be Marie de Rohan-Montbazon, Duchesse de Luynes then Duchesse de Chevreuse.’
I took one look and thought -‘No way’
A second look and the realisation that the art experts at Christies know an awful lot more than I do about art made me think – ‘OK. But….’
My writer’s instinct said that it just felt all wrong. This picture looks nothing like any known portraits of Marie. And nothing like MY view of this endlessly fascinating woman.
Then I read to the end of the article and found –
PORTRAIT OF A LADY, PROBABLY THE DUCHESSE DE CHEVREUSE, OIL ON PANEL, BY JEAN LEBLOND. We are grateful to Mr. Maxime Préaud for the details he provided on the work of the artist. Mr. Préaud considers that the attribution to Leblond is probable but has doubts regarding the identification of the sitter.
Aah! There you go. I’m still no art expert…..but I am a writer :o)
The line that divides fact from fiction can be fine or too broad to cross.
M. Préaud and I may be as wrong as two wrong things but…where on that fine line is there room for instinct?
That indefinable something that separates a writer’s right from a writer’s wrong?
How do we writers of Historical Fiction justify our interpretation of a person who actually walked talked and lived?
And -big question here – Do ‘we’ choose them or do ‘they’ choose us?
BTW – Has anyone else thrown a book across the room because they utterly, totally and irrevocably disagree with that author’s POV?
OK – maybe it’s just me who throws!?!
Which, in my defense, is not as bad as reading in the bath (fave place to read) and accidently on purpose losing grip on said book.
NO. NEVER. I couldn’t drown any book. Ever. Honest onions.