Portrait medal of Louis XIV and Anne of Austria.

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Jean Warin (1606-1672).


Portrait medal of Louis XIV and Anne of Austria.




Inscription (Obverse): ANNA . D[ei] . G[ratia] . FR[anciae] . ET . NA[varrae] . RE[egina] . R[egnans] . MATER . LVD[ovici] . XIV . D[ei] . G[ratia] . FR[anciae . ET . NAV[arrae] . REG[is] . CHR[istianissimi] . (Anne, by the grace of God queen regent of France and Navarre, mother of Louis XIV, by the grace of God most Christian king of France and Navarre.)

Reverse: The Church of the Val-de-Grace as planned by François Mansart (1598–1665).

Inscription: . OB . GRATIAM . DIV . DESIDERATI . REGII . ET . SECUNDI . PARTVS . (In thanks for the longed-for happy issue of the king.)

Dated in the exergue: . QUINTO . CAL . SEPT . 1638.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) had been married to the young Louis XIII (b. 1601; reigned, 1610–1643) in 1615, but for twenty years the marriage had been without issue. At last, on September 5, 1638, the queen was delivered of a son, the future Louis XIV (b. 1638; reigned, 1643–1715). She had vowed that if only she might produce an heir, she would show her gratitude to God by building a church and convent for an order of Benedictine nuns. This medal was cast to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone of the Val-de-Grace, in Paris on April 1, 1645.

This medal is one of my favorites because it departs from the usual profile portrait to depict a scene of unusual tenderness, reflecting the deep emotions felt by the recently widowed queen as she expresses both her gratitude to God for giving her a son and the love she feels for that son, who will become one of France’s greatest rulers. On the reverse, Warin, who was a key figure in the history of the medal in France, has produced one of the finest and most impressive architectural images in medallic history.


Stephen K. Scher



Jean Warin (1606-1672)., “Portrait medal of Louis XIV and Anne of Austria.,” Grolier Club Exhibitions, accessed September 24, 2018, https://grolierclub.omeka.net/items/show/321.