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Brou, priory churchlocked

  • Catherine Legros

Extract

Former Benedictine priory church, dedicated to St Nicholas of Tolentino, near Bourg-en-Bresse, Burgundy, France. Situated on an important road linking the northern provinces with Italy, the church was built by Margaret of Austria (see Habsburg, House of family, §I, (4)) after the death of her third husband Philibert the Fair, Duke of Savoy, in 1504. Earlier, in 1480, Margaret’s mother-in-law Margaret of Bourbon had undertaken to transform the small priory of Brou into a larger monastery if her husband Philippe, Comte de Bresse, survived a hunting accident, but despite his recovery the vow was not fulfilled. Margaret of Austria saw Philibert’s death, the result of another hunting accident, as divine retribution, and she immediately decided to initiate the work, securing the services of artists from the south Netherlands, Burgundy, Italy, and France. She spared no expense on the church’s embellishment, realizing that the monastery was fast becoming, in the eyes of her contemporaries, a testimony to her economic and political power and wishing to rival her sister-in-law Louise of Savoy (...

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