From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

published at 20/01/2017

Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire was founded around the year thousand by Odo I (973/978-996), Count of Blois, to keep watch over the border between the county of Blois and the county of Anjou held by Fulk III Nerra (978-1040).

The Norman knight Gelduin (before 996-1040) received Chaumont and shored up its fortress. His son and heir Geoffroy, with no child of his own, decided to pass it on to his great-niece Denise de Fougères (circa 1035-1096), who married Sulpice I d’Amboise (circa 1030-1074) in 1054. The Château thus stayed in the d’Amboise family’s hands for five centuries.

In 1465, Louis XI (1423-1483) had Chaumont burned to the ground to punish Pierre I d’Amboise (1408-1473), embroiled in the “League of Public Weal” (aristocratic revolt against the king). He was given back his land upon his return to favour. Assisted by his son Charles I (1430-1481), he then undertook to rebuild the Château and Charles II (1473-1511), helped this time by his uncle Cardinal Georges d’Amboise (1460-1510), continued with its reconstruction. This powerful family in the king’s inner circle reached its peak during the reign of Louis XII (1462-1515). Its members were also generous patrons, such as Georges d’Amboise and his nephew Charles II d’Amboise.

Georges d’Amboise was archbishop of Narbonne and then of Rouen. Promoted to Cardinal, and then Papal Legate, he was Louis XII’s closest advisor. He was one of the first people to bring the Italian style to France and oversaw the construction of the châteaux at Chaumont, Gaillon and Meillant.

Charles II d’Amboise, a friend of the King who visited him in 1503, was appointed Governor of Lombardy, Marshal and then Admiral of France. He was the first Frenchman to commission Leonardo da Vinci, whose pupil Andrea Solario he brought to France in 1507.