Happier Times? 1781 Louis Xvi And Queen Marie Antoinette Large Bronze Medal For Sale
Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette Large Bronze Medal. Designed by by Duvivier & Dupré. Diameter 73mm Weight 172g bronze, Golden patina. Choice Extremely Fine restrike of 1781 medal cast from the original Duvivier dies to celebrate the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of France.
This bronze medal bears the profile portraits of King Louis XVI of France, on the obverse, and of Queen Marie Antoinette, on the reverse. Of all the medals related to the Queen this one is said to feature the most accurate (non-idealized) portrait of her.
Description obverse: Bust of Louis XVI with flowing hair and wearing regal dress.
Titulature obverse: LUDOVICUS XVI FRANC ET NAV REX
VIVIER under portrait.
Description reverse: Marie Antoinette wearing ermine robe and pearl necklace, the hair tied in ribbons
Titulature revers : * SVIS LE LION QUI NE MORDS POINT.
Titulature reverse: MAR ANTON AUSTR FRANCIÆ ET NAVARR REGINA
Signed DU VIVIER 1781 under portrait
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Theme of Medal
French Renaissance Medals - Happier times
Louis XVI was born on August 23, 1754, in the Palace of Versailles. Named Louis Auguste de France, he was given the title Du de Berry signifying his junior status in the French Court. He was the third son of Louis, Dauphin of France and grandson of Louis XV of France. His mother, Marie-Josephe of Saxony, was the daughter of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, also the King of Poland.
Louis Auguste grew up strong and healthy, though very shy. He was tutored by French noblemen and studied religion, morality, and humanities. He excelled in Latin, history, geography, and astronomy and achieved fluency in Italian and English. With his good health, he enjoyed physical activities such as hunting and wrestling and from an early age he enjoyed locksmithing, which became a life-long hobby.
Louis's parents paid little
attention to him, instead focusing on his older brother, the heir apparent,
Louis duc de Bourgogne, who died at age 9 in 1761. Then, on December 20, 1765,
his father died of tuberculosis, and Louis Auguste became Dauphin at age 11.
His mother never recovered from the family tragedies and also succumbed to
tuberculosis on March 13, 1767. Louis Auguste was ill prepared for the throne
he was soon to inherit. Following the death of his parents, Louis's tutors
provided him with poor interpersonal skills. They exacerbated is shyness by
teaching him that austerity was a sign of a strong character in monarchs. As
a result, he presented himself as being very indecisive.
At age 15 (in May 1770), Louis married the 14 year-old Habsburg Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie Antoinette), his second cousin once removed, in an arranged marriage. She was the youngest daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Teresa.
Eventually, the couple had four children, all of whom but one died in childhood
Marie Antoinette (1755-1793), the last queen of France, was born Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna on November 2, 1755, in Vienna, Austria. She was the 15th and second to last child of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa, empress of Austria who’s portrait has been struck on many silver talers over the centuries.
With the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763, the preservation of a fragile alliance between Austria and France became a priority for Empress Maria Theresa; cementing alliances through matrimonial connections was a common practice among European royal families at the time. In 1765, the son of French Emperor Louis XV, Louis, dauphin de France (also known as Louis Ferdinand), died, leaving his 11-year-old grandson, Louis Auguste, heir to the French throne. Within months, Marie Antoinette and Louis Auguste were pledged to marry each other making Marie Antoinette, at 19 years old, queen of France
However, as personalities went Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette could not have been more different. He was introverted, shy and indecisive, a lover of solitary pleasures such as reading and metalwork; she was vivacious, outgoing and bold, a social butterfly who loved gambling, partying and extravagant fashions.
Marie Antoinette was never popular with the French public. (She was once to have exclaimed 'If I was not Queen, one would say that I had an insolent air'). She was often accused of putting Austrian interests ahead of those of her husband's kingdom. Her unpopularity was increased by her extravagant spending, which was often unfairly connected with the grave financial difficulties that beset France in the 1780s. This uncertain position put her in danger in the revolutionary period. This was not helped by her uncompromising stance to even the more moderate revolutionaries and her attempts at collusion with other European powers to try to suppress the insurgents. After the royal family failed to escape in 1791, and monarchy was abolished in 1792, Louis XVI was tried for treason and executed in January 1793. The former queen was tried by the National Assembly and executed a few months later that year.
Medal engraver: Pierre Simon Benjamin Duvivier (1728-1819).
Duvivier, Pierre Simon Benjamin: Benjamin Duvivier (1728-1819) was the son on Jean Duvivier the most important medallist during the reign of Louis XV’s reign. It is said that Jean, fearing to be surpassed by his son, not only did not teach Benjamin medallic art, but actually drove him from his home when the son was caught copying a medal. Benjamin was taken under the protection of his brother-in-law, and on the death of his father, he devoted himself to the king’s service, becoming one of the favorite artists of the Court of Louis XVI. In 1774 Duvivier was given the office of Engraver at the Mint, formerly held by Joseph Charles Roettiers.
Can the son be seen in his father? Portrait by Benjamin of his father, Jean Duvivier, dated the year after his father's death
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