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We present the story to another in a series of programs recounting the historical background of world famous artistic man. A French painter was born in 9:44 and died in 16 95 as a young man he went to Italy to perfect his technique. During the many years he remained there he was commissioned to paint Pope Urban the eighth and Alexander the seven. Sixteen fifty seven of the 14 summoned him to France to serve in Fontainebleau and he became the official painter of the court of France.
His genius was further awarded with the post of director of the Goban tapestry manufacturing in Paris and director of the French Academy of painting. But despite all this glory and all his title was a modest man a man of genius and a creator of 100 bewitching paintings. But just one of the perhaps the most beautiful of the more is enough to show his passport to immortality. That painting is the Virgin and Child. One morning the 60 in 95 here I mean you know Elena Baird
and a handsome townhouse in Paris. He was 75 years old and his full and rewarding life was drawing to a chair as he slept for his favorite pupil sat by his side. The adolescent started to features of the old painter as if to engrave them in his memory. The man he had come to love and admire would soon leave. Stared. Then opened his eyes and called softly crossed to Francois. I'm here mister right beside you my boy. Why did you close the window when you fell asleep. Mostly I was afraid you might catch the money yes. Coombe opened the window wide so that the room filled with sunshine and the fragrance of the flowers in my garden.
That and how are you feeling this morning. Well I feel like an old traveller whose mind and body are exhausted and wishes for nothing more than to harness the horses that will carry him to a turn rest huger when I'm asked I know you were and then I'll pick you to the cathedral of Notre where you have always liked to go and we can meditate. No no my boy I'm afraid it won't be long before I will be carried to the cathedral of Notre Dame in a coffin. But His Majesty Louis the Fourteenth sent His own doctor to cure you. And besides Didn't you want you just last week that the world has need of you and your genius from us. Don't you know that the will came to be used to that which is divine. God gave me the warning of my departure when he paralyzed my right hand.
Look here my boy my right arm is now paralyzed to the elbow and it is as cold as stone. Say do you know how nineteen gay was die. I think yes. No I don't master a Pliny the Elder tells us that the nightingale dies a dawn in the midst of its fantastic sound. So now the prayer was a staple in its throat and the bird falls from the branch as if struck by lightning and when it touches the ground it is dead. The other morning when the brush fell out of my hand I stood there as if I were petrified. I was certain I was going to die and the image of the nightingale dead in the early morning sky came into my mind. But the meaning behind that was the first that you needed a complete
rest. Which is exactly what the team's doctor ordered. And second that your pinking of the Virgin and her was perfect and that there is no need for you to keep going back to it. Master you realize that this painting has been on one of your easels for years. And yet you still go part with it. Even though it's here beside your birth. So that in your waking hours you never lose sight of it. Yes that's true. At night I fall asleep under the watchful gaze of the Virgen and in the morning when I awaken the first sight the greets my sleepy eyes. Is that sad smile so full of serenity and sweetness and every morning I close my eyes an instant hoping for a miracle like the one that happened over 60 years ago.
A miracle. A miracle happened over 60 years ago. Yes my boy. A miracle that is filled and enriched my whole life. But it could never occur a second time because real miracles only happen once. Master I have heard the honor of being your pupil for the last five years and bit by bit I have heard much about your prodigious life by heart. One day with your permission I will set down everything so that past Earth you will know how the greatest genius of all prime live. But in all this time I've never heard you mention anything about a miracle. Your affection makes you excessive in your admiration of a known man but it deeply touches me. I was ready to give you the second place in my heart.
Your love for me shines from your young eyes. But Minister you you never told me about the miracle that played such an important part in your life. It was because the right moment had not yet come. But I can tell you about it now. Katie is the answer to the questions that all the visitors and all the other painters always ask whenever they look at the virgins. It's it's the secret of your colors. No no cross when there is no secret there. The colors are the same for all painters. What I meant was the secret of how you make your colors from the word secret cannot apply to simple methods of mixing paint. Every artist finds his own recipes to answer his personal needs. And anyway you know my mixing techniques as well as I do myself because we've ground colors together so many
times and I've shown you how I get this or that effect. And now I achieve stunning results with certain vanishes. My boy you know all the secrets of my career which so intrigued my fellow pain. But with all this knowledge what is it that you must have to equal your own teacher. Well I should have genius. That is the word I was trying to get you to say. And what would you say genius. Easy to use. It's happened. Well I can't give you a definition of herb but I do know that whatever it is you have it Master can if it pleases you to think so. But remember the Greek philosopher Aristotle said the genius was
simply the result of a serious but the logical disorder. For my part I believe the genius is a sacred spark that it is always caused by a mere reckless intervention that inspires the spirit and set it free. Here Croswell take this key. I want you to go into the studio and to open the big chest with the with copper fittings and at the bottom will find a large faded sealed envelope with my arms on it understandable or by written the words of Pierre. December 25th sixteen hundred and seventeen. Bring it to me. How happy I guess mother of a crosswalk. Yes. Before you go turn the easel do what the light and into. The place and my burden is in the shadows.
You use that up in just a bit more. Oh oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Good day Margo. Good day Miss you Francois. What can I do for you. Nothing thank you. I've only come to look for documents almost. You see better this morning. No I'm sorry to say he's not. He's going very weak in the paralysis is gaining ground. There's nothing anyone can do. You can not load most of. Your malls. Yes.
Although I admit no one to see the master today is not to be disturbed. Very well miss you false. 0. 0. 0. 0. 0 0 0. Here's the overview I asked for M.. Yes that's it. Thank you. And did you notice the date Roswell. Yes m. the 25th of the summer 16 17. Yes that is exactly 68 years ago when I was seven years old. The CD has never been broken. I made a vow to open it on my deathbed. If I had the strength to promise me that you would keep the secret. I'm about to confide to you Francois. I swear before God master if you look at this my boy. It is the key to the miracle I told you about.
What a beautiful design. Oh it's only a sketch or a clumsy sketch I drew from memory on Christmas morning when I was seven years old. So can me crosswise does this portrait with mind you of anything you know get it more closely. Yes of course. Thank you. Muster the pure learn of the virgins who is. The resemblance is unmistakable and above all the eyes have the same infinite sadness the fears anyone who looks at them with compassion do you see any other resemblance. Even a slight white. Yes I guess I do. The form of the eyes and the oval of the fears are likely also into Syria you're very upset and cross well but is that dog.
No there's also a strong resemblance here to your version of the grapes. There are your virgin and here's your visual memory is infallible that anything else. The eyelids and the lawns. Candid eyes. And again there are the perfect over the first remind me of your saint Madeleine. Your right cross where did you see the portrait I did of Madame de Turkey. Yes master I saw her after she gave it to a cousin of hers who I also saw the note she sent with the painting. And what did the note say. I remember it word for word. It said it would have given me greater pleasure to give you this portrait if it looked more like me. It looked more like me.
Women will never understand portraits I painted Madame de Klerk ear as I saw her in my mind's eye as I wanted her to be. You mean with a delicate mouth and soft cheeks of your virgin and her Oh you noticed them too did you have a clever boy. You know my role in painting interpreting nature. The artist who fails to do this produces only mechanical reproductions of nature and does his heart and in cash. Yes master I must confess that a long time ago I began to see a strong resemblance between the Virgin of these of the next year and all your other models. Even your portrait of San Sebastian critters a sweet almost permanent quality. You had sex try you have a good I promise well and I'm proud of you. Yes everything you say is perfectly true and you are too perceptive not to know that the similarity of my models is
no mere coincidence. Would you like to know the reason behind. Yes master. I'm very curious. How is it that you never asked me about this before. I didn't doubt a master. But as I knew there was a significance in your rebirth stroke there must be a significance here I said to myself and so I waited waited What for my boy. I was waiting for you to make me a buck this is you have so many other things like this instinctively. I was waiting for today. My dear young friend. Your instinct was right. Yes it is always been the same woman's face that inspired my brush ever since that first rough sketch I made of her sixty years ago. Don't you believe that a face that has had such an intense influence all through the years must be our miraculous nature.
Yes master I do from what you tell me I'm convinced of it. You are my spiritual son and thereby I want you to know everything about my life. A poignant love story profoundly influenced my life. Oh it's a long story and. And I'm so very tired. But I leave you now and give you a chance to rest a while then you cannot. No no. Stay my boy and help me prop up my pillow a little yeah. There now you back slowly. Thank you. And that's my shit. How beautiful of the 70s. How many years ago my father as a young man loved to ride his horse over the countryside. Now it so happened that he met and fell in love with a young peasant girl of remarkable beauty.
A passionate little united the two young people. And in time a child was born. When my father announced that he wished to marry the girl I loved who had now presented him with a son. The family firmly opposed him of course and the young man's praise were in vain. He was told that a dramatic change would be a MS our alliance and bring disgrace on the family. The child was taken from its mother's arms and the family gave her a handsome sum of money on the condition that she promised never to try to see me again. The target was you. Yes Francois but you don't interrupt me. I'm afraid I won't be able to finish the mustard. Don't force yourself to think of the pain for the past. Your cheeks are hollow and you're out of breath. Let me get mother to prepare you a cup of mint tea Who knows.
No my boy. I want nothing. I miss when you show my stuff. I'm coming to the Merica. Draw your chair closer. I misspeak. I can stand on Christmas night in 16 and 17 when as I have told you I was seven years old. I was asleep in my bedroom in my grandparents. The curious manor house when suddenly I was awakened by the feeling that I was being watched. I open my eyes and they're standing over me with a young woman holding a prickling taut you know hand. Yes she was smiling down at me. No clothing with her pulled her off. She was strangely beautiful. But instead of feeling
terrified at the apparition which would have been natural under the circumstances I felt only joy. Man then I cried out spontaneously and reached up to her without a word. She sat on the edge of my bed and took me in her arms her hands were as cold as ice. The no clothes were covered with snow. Lot you know I'm embrace and I try to sleep happier happier than I'd ever been before. And I was only a dream wasn't it. I know it really happened. It was a miracle for when I woke in the morning. I remember the vision of the previous night with unbelievable clarity. My heart pounded and I was so overcome that I carved from my
governess Katrine and I asked her about my mother Katrine broke down and sobbing told me what had happened. It is haunted in my days and nights ever since. Tell me about the master please. Well. Returning from midnight mass. Catherine found a young peasant girl outside the house after frozen with cold. The poor creature was peeking into the brilliantly lighted windows on the sea with an activity trying desperately to see a child her child that had been taken from her birth that you'd never ever seen since that peasant woman was mime. We must know more today I beg you. We'll continue this conversation tomorrow. What all this excitement isn't good for you.
No on the contrary if you only knew what good it does to me to talk about. Katherine took pity on my mother and secretly brought her to my room. You know the rest a little while later she disappeared into the winter night. Forever. I was never to see her again despite all my efforts to trace her. I made that drawing just after care Crean told me everything. There on that bit of paper is the admirable vision of that Christmas Eve that was mine. Her. Look. I just realize that you have the same expression and the same lips as your mother and above or I can see the resemblance in the upper level. You have the same trace of bitterness and sadness that is here in this drawing.
Really Francoise do I really look like her. If you look closely the resemblance is striking. That is the most touching compliment you could have made me my boy. And it's all the more precious because it comes so late. She was very beautiful wasn't immersed. Being as sensitive as you are you must have suffered terribly from her absence. You can't imagine how much I long for her. What about her. Imagine the monstrous torture it must have been to her. I would have done anything to spare her that cat. All through my solitary life I've been obsessed by her by her sad smile. It guided in prudence and protected me. It was she who reigned over all my acts all my work. Yes and even all my dreams. I owe her everything.
And this adored being without whom the world would have been meaningless has never left me never an instance. Remember this my boy. Without the medical. Herb that Christmas Eve. And the painter appeared who would. Never have existed. Mr. Mercer answer me mano. A mano. Come quickly. Oh there. Messenger just bought more from you your last three papers here here
with a quick yes got in paci. Prepare the procession immediately. We shall go and embrace him one last time. Never was there a greater painter than he. You've been listening to the story of a masterpiece today here Minya with his union was in the title role with Alexander a clinical as false and Simone Sternberg as Margaret your narrator was called a man. This program was written by piece gullable adapted into English by Abel Hyde
and directed by Pierre keast you know when it came to you transcribed from the ORTF the French Broadcasting System and. This program was distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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The story of a masterpiece
Pierre Mignard: The Virgin and the
Producing Organization
French Cultural Services
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3409. This prog.: Pierre Mignard: The Virgin and the Child
Fine Arts
Media type
Producing Organization: French Cultural Services
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-22-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:15
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Chicago: “The story of a masterpiece; Pierre Mignard: The Virgin and the,” 1968-07-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “The story of a masterpiece; Pierre Mignard: The Virgin and the.” 1968-07-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: The story of a masterpiece; Pierre Mignard: The Virgin and the. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from