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
Not on view
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.
Louis Prévost de Sansac (by 1529) ; Marquis de Bridieu (until 1899; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 29, 1899 ; sold perhaps to the Comte de Brieux); Comte de Brieux (in 1899) ; George and Florence Blumenthal , Paris and New York (by 1926–until her d. 1930) ; George Blumenthal (1930–d. 1941; to MMA)