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François I (1494–1547)

Ludwig Neufahrer German

Not on view

This portrait of Francis I at age forty-three derives from a painting by François Clouet. The French king’s personal device, the salamander in the midst of flames, appears on the reverse combined with the inscription "Francis destroys this flame, with the power of the spirit he conquers all, in the waves of events he is unsinkable." According to ancient belief, the salamander could go through fire unscathed, extinguishing it at the same time. It thus became a symbol of enduring and triumphant faith.

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