Friday, May 14, 2010

HFBRT: Sundays Art: The Huguenot, Pre-Raphaelites 1851-2

To coincide with the HFBRT event of "The Confessions of Catherine De Medici" by C.W. Gortner. I have been saving this one for a loooooong time, this post actually is the very first post I ever made on The Pre-Raphaelites. I was waiting to see how I felt about this painting after my read on Catherine De Medici and it was well worth the wait. This is a moving piece that I have to admit is my favorite of them along with the Highlander.

Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896)

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge.

"It harks back to Paris of 1572, when many hundreds of French Protestants (Huguenots) were massacred by Catholic hoards. It was decreed that all Catholics should wear a white band on one arm and a cross in their hats to avoid the slaughter.

Millais portrays a Catholic woman's desperate attempt to shield her Huguenot lover, and his determined refusal to deny his religion. The crushed red flower at their feet is symbolic of his certain death."

Pre-Confessions thoughts 
I do not have very much background on the St Bartholomew's massacre which leads me to the point that I have no history I can relate this to. One thing that does strike me is not only the longing in the woman's expression but the smile he gives her like this is the right thing to do, I have to be brave and I have to take my stand even if it means my life.

It is reminiscent of another time when a select group of people were excluded in Europe and forced to wear the mark of their religion.

Post-Confessions thoughts
Wow, that was really interesting I really had no idea how much politics was involved in the massacre. Gortner brought light on a very dark time in France for me. I had no idea it was that brutal or brought about in such a conniving way. This just proves that Gortner is far from the typical boring read.

Also please do not forget to get your entries on for the HFBRT 2 book Giveaway & The Catherine De Medici Necklace Giveaway 

In the group schedule for today:
Friday, May 14th – Re-cap of CW Gortner’s books at the HFBRT, “The Woman Behind the Legend,” A Guest Post by CW Gortner at Passages to the Past, Book Review by Allie at Hist-Fic Chick.

Thursday, May 13th - Round Table Discussion Q&A at the HFBRT,  Catherine de Medici’s Gift + Nostradamus Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine, Book Review by Heather at The Maiden’s Court.

Wednesday, May 12th“Two Women, One King,” A Guest Post by CW Gortner at Hist-Fic Chick, Book Review by Amy at Passages to the Past.

Tuesday, May 11thGiveaway: Win Catherine’s Necklace! at the HFBRT, “Nostradamus – Visionary or the Best Fraud Ever” by Heather at The Maiden’s Court, Book Review by Arleigh at


  1. What a great painting that really embodies the emotional and political turmoil of the times.
    Oen wonders if religious persecution will continually have a place on this earth, and why?

  2. Marie, the first time I saw this piece I could not take my eyes from it. It really draws you into the times. Religious persecution has really been a point of interest for me. I started my love of history with the Holocaust. Surprisingly this period in France really is reminiscent of the Holocaust. Freedom of religion is a hard issue to tackle and still to this day there is religious persecution and I just can not justify the logic of why it is required even today with all of our modern advances people are still persecuted today.

  3. I love Millais, he made such beautiful and powerful paintings. "The Huguenot" is no exception.

  4. Lovely picture open to many interpretations if you don't know the background or history of the painting. Knowing the history make it ever so much more poignant.

    Thanks for another thought provoking ARTS post.

  5. The Hugenot is a beautiful painting. Very sensitive and moving

  6. Beautiful painting and post, so evocative of the Huguenot suffering at this time in history.

  7. Hi,

    I've just discovered your blog after clicking the link from Passages to the Past! I love it! I am really into history and love historical fiction. I have a history related blog-not strictly historical fiction-it is more history in general. Come check my blog out at Maybe we can add each other to our blogrolls?

  8. Wow Lizzy...this is so moving and I can't stop looking at it. You captured his and her expressions perfectly in your description.

    Thank you for posting this Lizzy!

  9. Miss Irene, I would have to say that Millais and Waterhouse are my top favorites. I alway look for bookmarks of their pieces.

    Librarypat, It moved me before I knew the history and it really moved me once I had some history on it. It is one of the painfully though provoking pieces. I am glad you enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing about it.

    Mystica, I just knew I was not alone in my love for this piece.

    C.W. Gortner, before your read I had no idea it was so complicated. They say a picture is worth a thousand words if that is true this one must be worth a million.

    Tammi, I love Passages it was my fisrt blog I followed. I am super glad you found the link to me. I will check out your place and add you to the blogroll. Come back and visit!

    Amy, this piece is one I could relate to. For me it was how would I have felt in this situation, what would I have done? I get the whole stand up for your beliefs deal and if I would have been in that situation my husband would have given me the same look because no one ever said doing the right thing was easy. If it was easy everyone would do it. Honor and courage can be a real rarity in life and even when you get the chance to get a glimpse of it in art it still is moving and it give the work life. Someday I have to see this one and the Highlander one too.


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