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Louis XIII

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1611 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dupré, Guillaume (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery, case CA13

Often cast in bronze or lead, but sometimes struck in silver or even gold, the portrait medal commemorated individuals and often associated events. Many specialist sculptors from the Renaissance onwards were attracted to this small-scale art form. Inspired by Roman coins, with their portraits of rulers on the obverse and allegorical representations on the reverse, medals were used as gifts and mementoes and eagerly collected. The medal format proved ideal for this type of personal and intimate object.

Guillaume Dupré (1579-1644) was court medallist to Henri IV and principal sculptor to the King. He had a very successful career in France before being invited to Italy in 1612 by the new Duke of Mantua, Francesco IV. He travelled on to Florence the following year. Dupré's grasp of the Italian tradition, together with his considerable technical skills, enabled him to cast medals in a style that proved influential on succeeding generations of French medallists.

Dupré produced several medals of Henri IV and his wife Marie de Medici including one (1603) of their profiles facing right, and two years later a variation with the King looking out. Henri intended for Marie to become Regent when he went on campaign in Germany, but she demanded to be crowned Queen of France. Her coronation took place on 13 May 1610, but Henri was assassinated the next day. Their young son Louis (1601-43) then ruled as Louis XIII with his mother as Regent until 1617. Dupré has here re-used his format of the two faces looking to the right, but in this case son Louis in front of his powerful mother.

Physical description

Bronze medal
Medal depicts on the obverse the busts to right, superposed, of Louis in front, and Marie de Médici. Louis wears armour and a scarf, and Marie a widow's coif. Inscription.
On the reverse to the right Marie de Medici as Minerva, seated wearing a cuirass and helmet, and with a thunderbolt in her left hand and a laurel branch in her right. In the front to the left, Louis, naked, his head surrounded by rays, holding in his left hand a globe, adorned with fleur-de-lis and surmounted by a cross. Inscription.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1611 (made)


Dupré, Guillaume (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Louis XIII, Most Christian King, Marie de Medici, Empress
The king grows up under the guidance of Minerva



Diameter: 46 mm, Depth: 2 mm at edge

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Louis XIII and Marie de Médici, by Guillaume Dupré, France, dated 1611

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 53
Jones, Mark. Catalogue of the French Medals in the British Museum, Vol II, 1600-1672. London: 1988, pp. 74-76, No33

Production Note






Subjects depicted

Helmet; Cuirass; Thunderbolt; Armour


Coins & Medals; Portraits; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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