Armor of Henry II, King of France (reigned 1547–59)
Part of the decoration design by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))
Part of the decoration design possibly by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)
Part of the decoration design possibly by Baptiste Pellerin (French, documented in Étampes 1542–75 Paris)
French, possibly Paris
Steel, gold, silver, leather, textile
H. 74 in. (187.96 cm); Wt. 53 lb. 4 oz. (24.20 kg)
Armor for Man
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1939
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.
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).
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
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: 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