Henri II, King of France, at the age of 28

(French, active 1543–48)
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 41.3 x 29.3 cm (16 1/4 x 11 9/16 in.)
Catalogue raisonné: Robert-Dumesnil 5 (IX.183)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Henry II loved finely embossed parade armor. He died at the age of 41 after having his eye put out during a tournament.


Comparing Renaissance princes with distinguished ancient leaders was a common theme in laudatory speeches, literature, and art. In commemoration of Henri II’s coronation as King of France (reigned 1547–59), Nicolo della Casa portrayed the monarch as a valiant Roman general. Crowned with a laurel wreath, the king’s head is in full profile, the traditional format used on ancient coins and engraved gems. He wears a muscled ceremonial cuirass, its breastplate heavily ornamented with war trophies, mermaids, and fighting tritons. The historicized armor, derived from antique imperial portraits and figures of the war-god Mars, creates a powerful and timeless image of the French sovereign.
Henri II, King of France, at the age of 28

Henri II, King of France, at the age of 28


Nicolo della Casa

(French, active 1543–48)
France, 16th century

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