HOW THE WOMEN OF HISTORY MADE BEAUTIFUL WITH PLANTS
CATERINA DE 'MEDICI
queen of France
François Clouet, "Henry III", king of France, 16th century, plate, 31.5x23 cm - Brescia, Tosio Martinengo Art Gallery
A bit of history
Caterina de 'Mèdici (Florence 1519 - Blois 1589), the woman who was queen of France was the daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino and Maddalena de La Tour d'Auvergne and grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
In 1533 she married the second son of Francis I of France, Henry of Valois Duke of Orleans who later became the future King Henry II in 1547, to whom she bore ten children.
During the reign of her husband it remained in the shade as well as during the regency of the first-born Francesco II who died in 1560 who was succeeded by the second-born Charles IX and as she was a minor, Catherine assumed the regency in his stead revealing her uncommon gifts governing for about twenty ' years France.
Catherine dedicated her forces to maintaining the balance between the Huguenots (led by Gaspard de Coligny) and Catholics (led by the Guise).
He attempted a reconciliation between the two parties also by marrying his two daughters, one, Elizabeth with the Catholic king of Spain, Philip II and the other Margaret of Valois with the Protestant Henry of Navarre (who later became King Henry IV of France).
Concerned, however, by the growing influence of the Huguenots on her son Charles, history is conflicted in attributing to Catherine the responsibility of the plot to assassinate the leader of the Protestants, Coligny, who was killed with about 3,000 Huguenots (the famous massacre of the night of San Bartholomew).
After the death of Charles (1574) and the ascension to the throne of his third son, Henry III, Catherine continued to fight to try to establish peace while letting her son rule. He dies at the age of 70.
Historiography has been very hard in judging this woman describing her as a ruthless, cruel, dominating woman with no morality to achieve her goals, dedicated to the occult sciences demonstrated by the fact that she attended Nostradamus. Catherine was called by her contemporaries "the black queen" for her ruthlessness in conducting political affairs and for her occult practices which she is said to have resorted to to conceive her ten children, who arrived after ten years of marriage.
However, modern historiography has re-evaluated this famous woman, attributing to her a policy of tolerance and dedicated to the peace and well-being of her subjects.
Catherine was not, among the famous women of history, what is usually defined, a beautiful woman or a model of beauty, she was plump, but she had a personality and charm of her own so much that she managed to influence French culture by introducing in France not only Italian cuisine but also the use of the fork, which was unknown until then.
She was a sincere protector of letters and the arts and introduced artists and costumes of the refined Italian Renaissance to France. That she was a versatile woman and a lover of the arts and beauty is also demonstrated by the fact that she designed the construction of the splendid Tuileries palace, a new wing of the Louvre and her personal library, containing numerous manuscripts, was unparalleled in France of the time.
Her body beauty care
The recipe for this cream appeared for the first time in a recipe book in 1560 where the beauty treatments of the body used by Caterina de 'Medici were reported.
The following recipe was found in the chapter dealing with the care to have beautiful hands:To have white, smooth and soft hands.