Armor of Henry II, King of France (reigned 1547–59)

Designer:
Part of the decoration design by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))
Designer:
Part of the decoration design possibly by Baptiste Pellerin (French, documented in Étampes 1542–75 Paris)
Date:
ca. 1555
Geography:
possibly Paris
Culture:
French, possibly Paris
Medium:
Steel, gold, silver, leather, textile
Dimensions:
H. 74 in. (187.96 cm); Wt. 53 lb. 4 oz. (24.20 kg)
Classification:
Armor for Man
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1939
Accession Number:
39.121a–n
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 374
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.

Audio

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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, New York (1929–d. 1939; his estate, 1939, inv. no. A-17; sold through Jacques Seligmann & Co. on May 15, 1939, to MMA).
Coburg, Germany. Veste Coburg. "Waffenausstellung," 1919.

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 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, tafel 73–74, ill.

Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg. Waffen-schaustellung Auf Der Veste Coburg. Coburg, 1919. (this armor exhibited).

Weinitz, Franz. "Waffenshaustellung auf der Veste Coburg, 1919." Zeitschrift Für Historische Waffenkunde (1919), p. 219 (review of the exhibition at Veste Coburg, which included this armor).

Grancsay, Stephen V. Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 3 to September 27, 1931. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. p. 10–11, no. 20.

Connoisseur. "The Connoisseur in America: Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Connoisseur 105, no. 463 p. 123.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "A Harness of a King of France." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 35, no. 1 pp. 12–17, figs. 1–4.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Historical Armor: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 4, pl. 5.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Historical Armor: A Picture Book. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1946. p. 4, pl. 5.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Historical Armor: A Picture Book. 3rd ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1951. p. 4, pl. 5.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of European Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (May 1956), pp. 224–25, ill.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Historical Armor: A Picture Book. 4th ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1957. p. 4, pl. 5.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Kenneth Clark. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1970. p. 240, no. 249, ill.

Blair, Claude. Arms, Armour and Base-Metalwork: The James A. De Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor. James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor. Fribourg: Office du Livre, 1974. pp. 52–54, no. 9.

Ancient Egypt in the Metropolitan Museum Journal. Vol. 1–11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.

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 (1979), pp. 21–44.

Clark, Jane. "Eliseus Libaerts and His English Connections." The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society 11, no. 2 pp. 41–46.

Grancsay, Stephen V., and Stuart W. Pyhrr. Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen V. Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920–1964. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. pp. 244–248; fig. 81.1.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, (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, 274–78, 280, 284, 289, 293, 299, 304, 311, no. 59, ill.

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.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 2012), inside covers, pp. 34–35, fig. 54,.

Norman, A. V. B., Ian Eaves, and Howard L. Blackmore. Arms & Armour In The Collection Of Her Majesty The Queen: European Armour. 1 ed. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2016. pp. 149.

La Rocca, Donald J. How to Read European Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017. pp.126- 127, fig. 139; front cover.