François I (1494–1547), King of France

Maker: Girolamo della Robbia (Italian, 1488–1566) , or

Maker: Luca della Robbia ("Young Luca") (Italian, 1475–ca. 1548)

Date: 1529

Culture: French

Medium: Glazed terracotta

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 26 × 26 × 12 1/2 in., 83 lb. (66 × 66 × 31.8 cm, 37.6 kg)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941

Accession Number: 41.100.245


Portrayed here at age thirty-five, François I sports a faint smile and a beard, which he is said to have adopted a few years earlier to hide scars from an accident. The king also wears a shirt adorned with double knots shaped like figure eights—an emblem of the House of Savoie, from which he descended through his mother, Louise, duchesse d’Angoulême. Modeled on roundels of ancient rulers that decorated François’s now-destroyed château de Madrid, the bust was commissioned by a courtier, Louis Prévost de Sansac (1496–1576), to hang above the entrance to the château de Sansac in Loches, Indre-et-Loire.