- Museum number
Cast and chased silver medal made from two plates of silver joined together. (whole)
Bust of Antoine Coeffier (called Ruzé), right, wearing a lace collar, armour, and the ribbon and cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit. (obverse)
Hercules takes the burden of the world from Atlas. (reverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 64.50 millimetres (excluding rim)
Diameter: 66.000 millimetres
Weight: 75.48 grammes
Thickness: 3 millimetres (at rim)
Thickness: 9.20 millimetres (max.)
- Curator's comments
In the past (see 4,5,9) this medal has been attributed to Guillaume Dupré. However, the existence of this, hitherto unpublished, signed example confirms Jean de Foville's hypothesis that the medal is by Jean Warin.
It is theoretically possible that Jean was, as in the case of his medal of Héroard (see registration no. 1980,0102.3), copying Dupré's work. However, given the fact that the Ruzé's armour is very close to Louis XIII's on the medal for the passage of the Pas de Suze (registration no. M.2263); that the style of the reverse is close to that of the reverses of both that and the Richelieu medal (registration no. G3,IP.1101) and quite unlike that of Dupré's work at this period (see registration nos. G3,IP.881, G3,IP.882, 1927,0708.2 and 1986,1004.2); that the stops in the legend are round (Dupré used diamond shaped ones); and that Dupré almost invariably signed works of this importance, it seems more natural to assume that this is Warin's own composition.
Since this is an exceptionally finely worked example of the medal (Hercules' arm stands clear of the field as on no other recorded specimen) and the only signed example known, it also seems likely that it was the primary example of the work.
The reverse indicates that Ruzé saw himself as a willing Atlas on whose shoulders the King (Hercules) had placed the burden of the affairs of State (see 1).
Antoine Coeffier, called Ruzé, Marquis d'Effiat (1581-1632) was adopted by his uncle, Martin Ruzé, Superitendant of Mines. In 1616 he purchased the charge of Premier Ecuyer de la Grande Ecurie. He became Marquis of Longjumeau in 1621 and of Effiat in 1624. After his return from an embassy to London, where he negotiated the marriage between Henrietta Maria and Charles I, he was appointed Superintendant of Finances (1626). In 1629 he was with the King during the campaigns in Savoy and Piedmont and in December became joint commander of the army in Italy, under Cardinal Richelieu. Created Maréchal de France in January 1631 he was about to take command of the army sent to the assistance of the Elector of Trier when he fell ill and died.
(a) Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, 58 rue de Richelieu, 75084 Paris, France (BN Paris), Sér. Icon. Fr. 2111, cast silver, 67 mm (64 mm excluding rim). Dated 1622.
(b) BN, Paris, Sér. Icon. Fr. 2112, cast bronze, 66.5 mm (65 mm excluding rim).
(c) Albert I Royal Library, Brussels, bronze, 65 mm.
(d) National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue, Washington DC, 20565, USA, Kress 569, bronze, 65 mm.
(e) Dept. of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, bronze.
(f) The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London Wl, 5373, gilt bronze, 65 mm.
(g) Sammlung von Medaillen, Münzen und Geldzeichen, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
(h) Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, A362-1910 (Salting Bequest), bronze, 76 mm.
(i) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, bronze, 65 mm. Aftercast.
1. J. de Bie La France Métallique 1636 p. 143 no. 125 and p. 144.
2. Recueil des médailles c. 1685 p. 30.
3. Pinard Chronologie Historique-Militaire II pp. 493-502.
4. T.N. Méd. Fr. II pl. 14 no. 2.
5. Mazerolle II, no. 702.
6. Jean de Foville 'Les premières oeuvres de Jean Varin en France' La Revue de l'art vol. 34 (1913), pp. 155-156. Attributes the medal to Warin.
7. J. G. Munn Sculpture in the Wallace Collection p. 139.
8. Morgenroth no. 287. Discusses the origin of the reverse type.
9. Jean Jacquart 'Le Marquis d'Effiat' in XVII Siècle 1959 pp. 298-313.
10. Pollard Kress no. 569.
Antoine Coeffier, known as Ruze, was superintendent of finances to Louis XIII of France and at the time of Warin's medal, commander of the French army in Italy. He was therefore the good courtier personified. The reverse of his medal makes reference to the episode in the legend of Hercules when he temporarily relieved Atlas, who had been condemned to support the heavens for his part in the revolt of the Titans against Jupiter, king of the Gods. The incident is to be read as Ruze's willingness to relieve the king of the burden of affairs of state, a message backed up by the obsequious legend 'Whatever is ordered is easy'.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015-2016, 3 Dec 2015 - 27 Mar 2016, Seoul Arts Centre, Korea, The Human Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MF2 (Jones 2) (188) (180)