Exceptional pair of embossed iron plates and gold and silver damascened *, representing King Henry IV and Queen Marie de Medici, bust, three quarters.
Henry IV wears the famous lion armor and the collar of the Order of the Holy Spirit, a lace strawberry coats his well-trimmed beard and his abundant hair.
His gaze is lively and particularly penetrating.
The queen is richly dressed in a gown of velvet genoa and a large lace strawberry worn as a fan.
She wears the crown of France and an abundant set of jewels, on the chest but also in the hair, her pearl necklaces are embellished with precious stones, simulated on our portrait by glass beads.
The back of the plates is cold hammered in order to release strong reliefs on the face side which are then chiseled, inlaid with precious metals or glass beads.
The decorative effect plays on the burnished surfaces of the iron and the shiny clothing details in two different colors.
The backgrounds are gilded with gold leaf, which allows the busts to stand out.
The frames, in finely carved and gilded beech wood, are original.
French work attributed to Guillaume Dupré * around 1600, Henri IV period.
Frames: Height: 22.5 Width: 19 cm
Plates: Height: 17.5 cm; Width: 14cm
Known close copies:
- Museum of the Renaissance of Ecouen (Inv 1662)
- Metropolitan Museum (inv. 40.13.3)
- Pair of Louvre Museum plaques, pre-accepted in the Pierre Bergé sale of June 23, 2021, lots 77 and 78.
* The embossed and damascened iron (from Damascus, Damascus) is a method of decorating metal, consisting in lowering the background around ornaments which must stand out in relief.
It will experience a significant boom during the renaissance, especially in Italy, the true cradle of this technique, which will be used on a large scale for goldsmiths, for furnishings but above all for the armory.
The Italian wars will allow the whole of Europe to discover the famous armor of the Milanese masked men from the Negroli workshop.
The kings of France will even place orders, notably for the famous lion armor, kept at the Army Museum, which is now believed to have belonged to François 1er.
* Guillaume Dupré, born in Sissonne around 1576 and died in Paris in 1643, is a French medalist and sculptor.
In 1604, he had a son, Abraham, who would also be a medalist. He is the son-in-law of the sculptor Barthélemy Prieur. In 1597, he entered the service of King Henry IV. In 1604, he was appointed, jointly with Jean Pillon, controller of punches and coins of France, a position he assumed alone from 1617. From 1611, he had become the king's first sculptor, taking over from Barthélemy Prieur in this work. job. In 1612, he made a trip to Italy. Around 1629, he was appointed commissioner general of the Artillery. He will engrave medals for Henri IV, Louis XIII and the very beginning of the reign of Louis XIV.
Guillaume Dupré stands out from the engravers of his time by the importance of the reliefs he gives to his medals. This could not be explained by his initial training as a sculptor with his stepfather. He also made his own castings and produced pieces of exceptional quality and finish. The trip he made to Italy also influenced his style, which in a way announces the French Baroque.
Our opinion :
The pair of plaques that we present are of the greatest rarity, only a handful of plaques are known to date and they are all kept in major museums.
The perfect mastery of the damascening technique allows us to appreciate the extreme delicacy of the carving on the two portraits.
Our plaques are attributable to Guillaume Dupré, the king's sculptor, who is the father of the various known models that he distributed on many medals.
The bust of Henri IV is reproduced on the double medal he made for the court.
Dupré himself was inspired by portraits of the painter of King Frans Pourbus.
If we still do not know anything about these objects, it is obvious that they were ordered by an elite close to the royal family and that they remain to this day prominent collector's items, perfectly symbolizing the refinement of the court in the Renaissance.
Price : on request