Vessel Presented to Henri II, design by Jean Cousin the Elder



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English: Design for a vessel presented by the City of Paris to Henry II of France on the occasion of his entry into Paris in 1549. Pen and ink wash, India ink with watercolour on vellum, 30.2 × 20.1 cm, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. "The gold vessel presented to the king on the occasion of his entry in 1549 is known through this drawing on vellum with watercolor highlights, which was used as part of the contract agreement between the city fathers and the goldsmiths charged with executing the piece. Like all such 'entry' gifts, this one was rich in allegorical and political meaning. To evoke dynastic continuity, the upper level bore figurines of the three predecessors of Henri II arrayed around a palm tree and dressed as emperors, below which, separated by harpies, were seated personifications of the Virtues exemplified by these princes. The base incorporated claws, lion heads, and monstrous masks, all symbolizing Vices, 'as if to say that Vice must be exterminated by Virtue' " (Cloulas and Bimbenet-Privat, p. 202.)
Date 1549(1549)
Source Ivan Cloulas and Michelle Bimbenet-Privat, Treasures of the French Renaissance, translated by John Goodman, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998, ISBN 0810938839.
Author Jean Cousin the Elder


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