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Work Medallion: The Coronation of the Virgin

Department of Decorative Arts: Renaissance

Medallion: The Coronation of the Virgin

© 2010 RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Decorative Arts

Baratte Sophie

Notable for its opaque gray-blue counter-enameling, this multicolored medallion was the work of the finest enameler in Limoges in the early years of enamel painting. Great skill is displayed in the treatment of the movements of the figures in this devotional scene, while the gold highlights and jewel-like effects of drops of translucent enamel contribute to the extreme refinement of the work.


The copper medallion was painted with layers of polychrome enamels; small strips of silver leaf were coated with translucent colors to decorate the clothes, the tiara of God the Father, the Virgin's crown and the borders of the garments. As was usually the case during this period, the opaque counter-enameling is in gray-blue.

Subject and style

God the Father and the Virgin are seated on thrones placed on a green ground, a curious arrangement for a scene that takes place in the heavens, against a star-studded firmament. A Latin prayer is inscribed on the white border of the medallion, and the letters "MA" in gold adorn the Virgin's robe. The natural quality of the gestures, the finely rendered facial features and the abundance of translucent enamels on the tiny strips of silver leaf together make this medallion a quite exceptional example of its type.


The style and the counter-enameling are characteristic of the work of the Master of the Triptych of Louis XII, a painting now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the side panels of which depict Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne. This painting can be dated with precision to between 1498 and 1514. Two other panels, depicting the aristocratic couple Anne de Beaujeu and Pierre de Bourbon, enable us to pinpoint the dating to the year 1504. In 1989, the Louvre purchased a large oval medallion depicting the Mater Dolorosa, attributed to the same enameler.

Technical description

  • Master of the Triptych of Louis XII

    Medallion: The Coronation of the Virgin

    C. 1500


  • Painted enamel on copper

    Diam. 23 cm

  • Former Brunswick collection; confiscated in 1806

    N 1218

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    Louis XII
    Room 510
    Display case 1

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