Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pauline Borghese Part 3

  In April of 1803 the legate to Pope Pius III, Cardinal Caprara, introduced Prince Camillo Borghese into Pauline Bonaparte Leclerc's life. He was a darkly handsome 28 year old prince of modest height & the same angular features as Pauline. His father, Prince Marcantonio Borghese, had deliberately stunted Camillo's  education & Pauline was uneducated. At least in that respect Camillo & Pauline had something in common.

  So it was decided & planned by the Bonapartes & by the  Borghese families that the doltish,but rich, Prince Camillo should wed the vain Pauline. The Bonapartes contrived to make the marriage Camillo's idea & could hardly believe his dream was coming true when Pauline accepted. Strangely enough Napoleon was the only one against the marriage. Or he could've just been playing the devil's advocate. He did finally agree to the match but made Pauline wait the old tradition of a 12 month mourning period instead of the Napoleonic Code 10 month mourning period.

  So on August 25, 1803 the couple signed a pre-nup stating : Napoleon would pay Pauline's 5000,000 francs dowry: Camillo bought her  diamonds  worth 300,00 francs& access to the Borghese family jewelry. She alone  would keep her inheritance from Leclerc. If camillo died before Pauline she would get a 50,00 francs a year annuity, plus two luxurious carriages & the right to maintain apartments in 2 Borghese residences.

  Even though the civil ceremony was scheduled to take place in November, Pauline was impatient & the two consummated their relationship in July. So the couple got married in secret on August28, 1803 without Napoleon's knowledge. He did find out about her marriage when she was introduced as "Princess Borghese" at a soiree Napoleon was giving & he was not at all pleased. Because he had been publicly shocked, surprised & humiliated by his favorite sister, no less, he coldly informed Pauline that where he lived there were no princesses & to have some modesty & not to take a title her sisters do not own.

  Even though he succeeded in mortifying Pauline he did not stay angry with her long. In a letter he told her that she was 24 & ought to be mature & sensible by now. He should have known better than that because in no way, shape, or form was she any of those.

  Following her arrival in Rome she delayed her meeting with the Pope because her dress from Paris had not arrived.Pauline then went on to insult her in laws & Roman high society by feigning a violent headache in order to get out of going to a party given in her honor by her mother-in-law. Even though Pauline was  fine all day. But all of this was of no matter her for she regretted  her 2nd marriage calling Camillo a "eunuch" & starting an affair, 4 months after the wedding, with a poor hereditary prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Even though Pauline tried to disguise her infidelity  Camillo caught her with compromising letters, which he is said to have said he would have "given the world not to have seen". Even Cardinal Fesh, a relative, was not able to get Pauline to behave herself. Neither did a letter from Napoleon affect her. For while her sexual liaisons were acceptable within her Paris coterie, they were considered to be intolerable in Rome- but not because she was unfaithful but because she was flaunting her infidelity. Unlike her mother-in-law who had been having an affair for years but kept it quiet.

  Just because Camillo did not want to share his wife's body it did not mean he wasn't proud of Pauline's body. So in 1804  Antonio Canova was commissioned to do a sculptor of Pauline. Canova had to be cajoled to do the work. He to became smitten with Pauline & thought she should represent Diana, goddess of the hunt but she insisted on Venus The marble piece became known as "Venus Vitrix"or Venus Victorious.

Posing with an apple in hand & a piece of cloth draped over her lower half, Pauline was unconcerned about whatever damage could have occurred her reputation. The full-statue was not finished until1808.

Part 4 to follow.
Thank you for staying with me on this piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment