Politics and Propaganda : La Fortune de la France

La Fortune de la France

La Fortune de la France, Abraham Bosse, 1635-37. Etching. France.

The print La Fortune de la France by Abraham Bosse was created to commemorate an event with a political tone aimed at the enemies of France at the time, with specific emphasis placed on Spain. It is an allegorical print for the Franco-Spanish War in 1635. The inscription at the bottom of the print literally and figuratively explains that above all else, Fortune is favoring the French. The inclusion of this inscription in a print with an already explicit meaning further emphasizes the nationalist views portrayed by Bosse. All of the elements included in the print were symbolic of the victory of France over the hapless Spaniards. Lady Fortune in the sky sends gifts to the French royalty shown on the left side of the print and turns her back on the unlucky, bedraggled Spaniards who plead for her assistance.

The etching is dedicated to Michel Le Blon, a Dutch art dealer. Le Blon worked for Queen Christina of Sweden and the Swedish Chancellor, originally as a political informant, then as an art dealer. Although this dedication to Le Blon may seem obscure, he was a prominent dealer in the art world and had an extensive network in Europe. His connection with Sweden was also important because Sweden was heavily involved in conflict with the Spanish empire, as was France at the time, which is the subject of this etching.

Abraham Bosse is a significant figure in seventeenth century printmaking because he wrote one of the first technical treatise on etching in 1645, titled "De la Maniere de Graver a l'eau Forte." This led to his admission into the Academie Royal de Penture et da Sculpture in Paris, honorarily in 1648 and formally in 1651.