The Prince of Orange’s epitaph

The Prince of Orange’s epitaph

On 25 October 1530, two months and three weeks after the battle of Gavinana, the body of Prince d’Orange – who had died in battled - was finally laid to rest in the Church of Cappuccini in Lons-Le-Saunier, in the Franche Comté. The prince's funeral monument, commissioned on 25 January 1531 by the mother Filiberta of Luxembourg to the Flemish sculptor Conrad Meyt and to Giovan Battista Mariotto from Florence, was never completed. The original project included an alabaster arco di trionfo, below which the statue of Filiberto kneeling was to be sculpted, wearing ducal apparel, crowned and wearing the Toison d’Or collar, in front of a statue of the Madonna di Loreto. The funeral monument remained incomplete; it was destroyed in 1637, and only a few documentary traces of it are left. Even the sepoltura of the Prince d’Orange no longer exists: it disappeared during renovation work on the Chiesa dei Cappuccini in the nineteenth century. its only remain is an epigraph, in Gothic characters on white stone, presumably dating between 1530 and 1531.

A white stone sculpture, on a monolith rounded in the upper part, kept in the church of Cappuccini in Lons-Le-Launier, Franche Comté, France. Size 42.5 x 64 cm, with an epitaph inscribed, dating t+C24o the second quarter of the sixteenth century (1530 / 1531).
On the top section, weapons of the Prince d’Orange, surrounded by the Toison d’Or. The epitaph, written in minute Gothic characters, includes several tachigraphic abbreviations; it reads:
« Cy git / m[esse]g[neur]r hrt / ph[ilibert]rt de chalon / duc de gravine / prince dora[n]ges conte / de tonnerre et de pointh / ieure viceroy de naples / lieutena[n]t ge[ne]r[a]l de la[m]pere[ur] / en Ytalie gouverneur / de bourgongne qui / morut le tier jour daoust / XV C XXX dieu luy face paix ».

Bibliography and sources:

Vivre et moùrir à la Renassaince, la destinée européenne de Philibert de Chalon, prince d’Orange, catalogo della mostra, Lons-Le-Saunier, Centre Jurassien du Patrimoine, 2002, pp. 18-19.
Alessandro Monti, L’assedio di Firenze (1529-1530). Politica, diplomazia e conflitto durante le Guerre d’Italia, Pisa, University Press, 2015, pp. 341-342.

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