The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Marguerite de France as Minerva
  • Plaque
  • Marguerite de France as Minerva
  • Jean de Court (died before 1583)
  • Limoges, France
  • 1555
  • Enamel, flesh tones, black and red details, foil, gold and copper, enamelled and gilded, with enlevage
  • Height: 20.9 cm
    Width: 15.9 cm
  • Inscription: 'JEHAN DE COURT MA FAICT 1555' In black lettering
  • C589
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This plaque is the only fully signed and dated enamel by Jean de Court. It depicts Marguerite de France (1523-74), daughter of François I and sister to Henri II, as Minerva/ Pallas, the classical goddess of war and wisdom. She has the goddess’s attributes, the shield, breastplate, helmet and spear as goddess of war and an owl and books as goddess of wisdom. Marguerite’s learning was widely respected. Writers and poets, Pierre Ronsard among them, regarded her as their protectress and champion in the fight against ignorance. The globe, symbol of fame, also illustrates Marguerite’s motto, Rerum sapientia custos (Wisdom, guardian of the world).