28/9/23 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée du Louvre and Chantilly, Musée Condé - The portraits of two brothers by François Clouet recently joined the public collections, acquired by the Musée du Louvre and the Musée Condé in Chantilly on the same day in June: one represents the future François II, King of France, the other Hercules François de France, Duke of Anjou.
Painted in tempera and gold on parchment, the first effigy measures barely five centimetres (ill. 1). It was one of the exceptions in the collection of miniatures offered for sale by Artcurial on 14 June 2023, which mainly comprised works from the second half of the 17th-century (see news item of 12/6/23). It sold for €44,608 (including costs) and was preempted by the Louvre. Surprisingly, its estimate of between €6,000 and €8,000 was relatively reasonable, given that it had already been sold at Drouot in 2010, when it was estimated at between €70,000 and €80,000.
- 1. François Clouet (circa 1515-1572)
Portrait of François II, c. 1558
Tempera and gold on parchment - 5.2 x 3.8 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
- See the image in its page
While Jean Clouet produced many miniature portraits, those of his son are much rarer. The artist’s specialist, Alexandra Zvereva, considers this one to be an original and dates it to 1558. In April of that year, the young Francis married Mary Stuart and was awarded the Order of Saint Michael, the collar of which can be seen around his neck.
The painter had drawn and painted the royal children on several occasions, including the young Scottish queen. As Alexandra Zvereva recalls , in 1558, he set about depicting the entire royal family again before the celebrations for the capture of Calais in February. To do this, he drew inspiration from the previous figures, giving their faces slightly older features. The portrait of the dauphin that he drew is known from two very similar versions, one formerly in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge and…