Couly II Nouailher (French, Limoges, active 1539–67)
Enamel, painted and partly gilded, on copper
Diam. 7 1/4 in. (24.1 cm)
Gift of V. Everit Macy, 1928 (28.217.2)
This portrait of Julius Caesar is part of a series depicting the Nine Worthies, historical figures thought to embody the values of chivalryfrom antiquity: Hector, Alexander, and Julius Caesar; from the Old Testament: Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabeus; and from the Middle Ages: King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godefroy de Bouillon. The Nine Worthies were first extolled as exemplars of the chivalric code by Jacques de Longuyon, in his romance Les Voeux du Paon (The Vows of the Peacock, ca. 1312), and thereafter became a popular subject in French literature and art.