Barthélemy Prieur

(1536 - 1611)
Barthélemy Prieur Allegorical bust of a young woman, possibly ‘France’ About 1600


French sculptor Barthélemy Prieur was born in Berzieux (now in the Marne), into a family of farmers. He studied art in Italy and between 1564 and 1568 worked for the Duke of Savoie in Turin. On his return to France, he introduced Italian-style small bronzes into French art. His main output, though, consisted of large, bronze funerary monuments. His monument to Christophe de Thou is now in the Louvre, as is his monument to Anne de Montmorency. In 1591 Prieur was appointed sculptor to King Henry IV of France, who was a keen promoter of the arts. Under his patronage, hundreds of artists and craftsmen – including Prieur – worked on the Louvre’s new Grande Galerie. Prieur sculpted two small bronzes of the king and his queen, Marie de Medici, representing them as Roman gods Jupiter and Juno.