UNKNOWN MASTER, French
(active around 1572)

Prince Hercule François, Duc d'Alençon

1572
Oil on canvas, 189 x 102 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Hercule François (1554-1584) was the fourth and last son of Henri II and Catherine de' Medici. He was the last Valois prince and potential successor to the throne. The inscription at upper left may be translated, "François, Duc d'Alençon, eighteen years of age the nineteenth day of March, the year 1572, son of Henri II by this name king of France."

The painting was first attributed to François Clouet, then to Frans Pourbus the Elder. Since the early 1950s it is considered to be by an anonymous French artist working under the influence of the School of Fontainebleau.




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