• Portrait of Henri III, the Duke of Anjou

    Artist:
    Unknown French artist. 1560 - 1570
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    47,8x34,2 cm

Unknown French artist. 1560 - 1570

Portrait of Henri III, the Duke of Anjou

France, 1563-1567

The man depicted in the painting is identified as Henry of Anjou (1551-1581), the son of King of France Henry II and Catherine de Medicis. He became King Henry III of France from 1574. This superb example of French 16th-century portraiture does not limit itself to the mere depiction of an external likeness, but seeks to show those details which give away something of the sitter's character, such as the barely noticeable smile lurking at the corners of the mouth and the steadfast gaze which reveal the sitter’s ironic mind, a sense of dignity and restraint. The half-length format is characteristic of portraits of this period, while the slight turn of the figure indicates a move away from the static frontality or earlier times. The painting is distinguished by the soft modelling of light and shade, restrained colour scheme and the elegance of the treatment of details. The fashionable cut of the attire, the noble face and elegant bearing are evidence of the aristocratic origins of the subject. It was traditionally thought - due to an inscription in the top right corner which reads Mr Le Duc d'Alencon - that the subject was the Duc d'Alencon, but this theory has been totally rejected. The inscription is later than the painting itself, and the sitter (as it was mentioned above) is now identified as the Duc d'Anjou, the future Henri III of France.

Title:

Portrait of Henri III, the Duke of Anjou

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

47,8x34,2 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1772; acquired from the collection of L.A. Crozat, Baron de Thiers, in Paris

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-1255

Category:

Collection:

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