(b. ca. 1420, Tours, d. ca. 1480, Tours)

Portrait of Charles VII of France

c. 1445
Wood, 86 x 72 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The king is painted between drawn curtains. His thin, ascetic face, melancholy eyes and puritan simplicity are evidence of the profound psychological penetration of the painter and the economy of the means used to express it. The blue hat is adorned with a V-shaped gold pattern; and this is practically the only trace of pomp in the painting. His simple dark red velvet doublet is bordered with brown fur at the neck and cuffs. The rather sad, somewhat timid face, the eyes narrow, the nose long, the lips thick, looks as if carved by a sculptor's chisel. The artist has painted the king in three-quarters profile and nothing but the inscription "le trés victorieux roy de France" betrays that this was the ruler who brought the Hundred Years' War to a triumphant end. It is possible that the Touraine artist may have painted this portrait immediately after his return from his journey to Italy, so much discussed by scholars, for it is the most mediaeval in spirit of his portraits.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.