Agnes Sorel Started A Trend Of Walking Around 15th-Century France With One Breast Out
Agnes Sorel made history as the first official mistress of a French king. Obviously, there had been plenty before her, but she was the first one to really make a career out of it. She hit the court like an absolute hurricane, leaving awed contemporaries to declare her "the most beautiful woman in the world" and "a bad example to modest and honest women" -- two of the nicest compliments a 15th-century writer could give. That last one was probably due to her habit of going around with her boobs hanging out, most famously depicted in this painting of her as, ironically, the Virgin Mary.
Jean FouquetThough she must not have spent much time around this painter, who had clearly never seen a breast in his life.
That's not to breastfeed -- it was more likely meant to be a reflection of her own dress sense, which a shocked chronicler described as "open robes in the front where one sees her breasts." This style was widely imitated, leading a bishop to decry the new trend for "front openings through which one sees the teats, nipples, and breasts of women."
Via WikipediaEyes on the floor, Bishop. Always on God's floor.
Agnes' fashion-forward approach led one unkind historian to declare her "history's first bimbo," but she was much more than that. Charles VII was totally overwhelmed by her, to the point where a future pope observed "whether at table, in bed, or in the council chamber, she must needs be always at his side." She used that influence to encourage the underwhelming king to fight against the English invaders, and she may have died for her country. In 2005, a French study revealed that she died from acute mercury poisoning at age 28. Of course, that doesn't mean she was intentionally poisoned -- 15th-century nobles would basically gargle mercury every time they got a headache -- but it is interesting in light of contemporary rumors that the king's son poisoned her to get her out of the way.
In any case, Agnes will always be remembered for two things: hating the English and rockin' tits. It's a wonder she's never appeared on any French currency.
Taylor Daine is not an '80s one-hit wonder, but rather a Midwest comedian and writer who tweets at @turtledovejones.
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