The Dauphin François, Son of François I

Jean Clouet
13 cm x 16 cm
Inventory number: 
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Category D: Outside the Low Countries
16th century Portraits

Originally the person portrayed was identified as Frans II, son of the French king Henry II. In addition, the identification of the artist was not certain, and the names of Hans Holbein II and François Clouet, the son of Jean Clouet, were mentioned. Ultimately it was definitively attributed to Jean Clouet. He was in the service of Frans I, probably then the child is also the son of this king.
The dauphin was born in 1518, and died prematurely in 1536. Most likely he was painted in the early twenties of the 16th Century, when he was four or five years old. In addition to this, his clothing is also of note, a low-cut jerkin with white slashes. On his head he wears a black hat with a broad brim decorated with swan feathers. The facial countenance is a mixture of childish innocence and royal importance.
The portrait is highly detailed in its representation. Witness to this is the miniature rendering of the feathers on the hat and the fine drawing of the golden blonde hair. The dark-green background further emphasises the pale face, and strongly brings out the red and yellow of the clothing.