chapter  Two
The Val-de-Grâce as a Portrait of Anne of Austria: Queen, Queen Regent, Queen Mother
ByJennifer G. Germann
Pages 15

The Val-de-Grace is generally considered a product of Anne of Austria's relief at the miraculous birth of her son, the dauphin and future Louis XIV. Using Hans-Georg Gadamer's idea of occasionality, the chapter focuses on the relationship between decoration and patronage. The chapter explores the way Anne of Austria is figured in the church and analyzes the building both as a product of her experiences and as a means to negotiate the demands of being a queen, queen mother, and queen regent. It discusses the decoration of the church interior as one would experience it, moving from the entrance through the nave to the main altar. The surfaces of the nave received a wealth of sculptural attention, since this was a space for the lay public. The Val-de-Grace also has dynastic significance. In Mansart's original plans, six chapels were envisioned, three on either side of the nave, dedicated to sanctified kings and queens.