This is one of the most elaborate and complete French parade armors, and it retains much of its original coloring. The surfaces are covered by dense foliate scrolls inhabited by human figures and a variety of fabulous creatures that derive from the Italian grotesque. The decoration includes, at the center of the breast, a Roman warrior receiving tribute of arms from two kneeling females and, on the shoulders, Apollo chasing the nymph Daphne (front) and Apollo with the slain monster Python (back). The crescent moon, one of the badges of Henry II (reigned 1547–59), appears in several places.
Twenty original design drawings for this armor survive. One is by Jean Cousin the Elder; the rest are by either Étienne Delaunne or Baptiste Pellerin. All three were distinguished Parisian artists of the mid-sixteenth century.
Henry II, King of France (until d. 1559); Carl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Residenzschloss, Weimar (by 1804–d. 1828); by descent to Wilhelm Ernst, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Residenzschloss, Weimar, later Schloss Heinrichau, Lower Silesia, Germany (now Henryków, Poland) (1901–d. 1923); his widow, Feodora, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Schloss Heinrichau (1923–1929; sold in May, 1929, to Kahlert & Sohn); [E. Kahlert & Sohn, Berlin, 1929; sold on December 14, 1929, for $135,000, to Sir Joseph Duveen for Mackay]; Clarence H. Mackay, Long Island (1929–d. 1939; his estate, 1939, inv. no. A-17; sold through Jacques Seligmann & Co. on May 15, 1939, to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor," August 3, 1931–September 27, 1931, no. 20.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 14, 1970–February 14, 1971, no. 249.
Paris. Musée de l'Armée. "Sous L'Égide de Mars: Armures des Princes d'Europe," March 16–June 26, 2011, no. 59.
Boeheim, Wendelin. "Ein Meisterwerk der Waffenschmiedekunst." Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde 1 (1897). pp. 42–45, fig. 3.
Diener-Schönberg, Alfons. Die Waffen der Wartburg: Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der Waffen-Sammlung S.K.H. des Grossherzogs Wilhelm Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach. Berlin: Historischer Verlag Baumgärtel, 1912. pp. 174–75, ill.
Dean, Bashford. Notes on Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916.
Hoopes, T.T., and Wendelin Boeheim. "Ein Beitrag zum Französischen Radschloss." Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde (1935). pp. 42–45, fig. 3.
Connoisseur. "The Connoisseur in America: Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Connoisseur 105, no. 463 (1940). p. 123.
Grancsay, Stephen V. "A Harness of a King of France." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 35, no. 1 (January 1940). pp. 12–17, figs. 1–4.
Grancsay, Stephen V. Historical Armor: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 1944. p. 4, pl. 5.
Lenk, Torsten, Blanche Byrne, Jane Clark, Charles R. Beard, Leslie Southwick, Ian Eaves, John F. Hayward, Gordon T. Howard, and Walter J. Karcheski. The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society 2 (1956–1958). pp. 21–44.
Granscay, S. V., A. Hyatt Mayor, James J. Rorimer, William Holmes Forsyth, Bruno Thomas, Sir Richard C. Jebb, Randolph Bullock, Stephen V. Grancsay, and Helmut Nickel. "The New Galleries of Oriental Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (May 1958). pp. 224, 225, ill. helmet p. 224, armor p. 225.
Blair, Claude, and The National Trust. Arms, Armour and Base-Metalwork. James A. de Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor. London: Office du Livre, 1974. pp. 52–54, no. 9.
Clark, Jane. "Eliseus Libaerts and His English Connections." The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society 11, no. 2 (December 1983). pp. 41–46.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor From the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 2–3, 64, ill.
Renaudeau, Olivier, Jean-Pierre Reverseau, Musée de l'Armée, and Jean-Paul Sage-Frénay. "Armures des Princes d'Europe." In Sous l'Égide de Mars. Paris: Éditions Nicolas Chaudun, 2010. pp. 39, 53, 65, 78, 92, 98, 99, 101, 103, 151, 155, 177, 179, 274, ill. pp. 275–276, 277–278, 280, 284, 289, 293, 299, 304, 311, no. 59.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thomas P. Campbell. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 164, ill.
Norman, A. V. B., Ian Eaves, and Howard L. Blackmore. Arms & Armour In The Collection Of Her Majesty The Queen: European Armour. 1st Ed ed. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2016. pp. 149.
Artist: Probably designed by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))Date: 1547–59Medium: Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)Accession: 42.57.1On view in:Not on view
Artist: Probably designed by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))Date: 1547–59Medium: Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)Accession: 42.57.2On view in:Not on view
Artist: Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))Date: ca.1543Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush and gray wash, with white gouache, over black chalkAccession: 2001.106On view in:Not on view
Artist: Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))Date: 16th centuryMedium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, heightened with white, over slight traces of black chalkAccession: 63.117On view in:Not on view