François I (1494–1547), King of France
Girolamo della Robbia Italian
Luca della Robbia ("Young Luca") Italian
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.