Armor of Henry II, King of France

This is one of the most intricate and complete French parade armors, and it retains much of its original coloring. The surfaces are covered by dense foliate scrolls occupied by human figures and a variability of fabulous creatures that derive from the Italian grotesque. The decoration includes, at the center of the breast, a Roman warrior receiving honor of arms from two kneeling females and, on the shoulders, Apollo chasing the nymph Daphne (front) and Apollo with the slain monster Python (back). The crescent moon, one of the badges of Henry II (reigned 1547–59), appears in several places.

Twenty original design drawings for this armor survive. One is by Jean Cousin the Elder; the rest are by either Étienne Delaunne or Baptiste Pellerin. All three were distinguished Parisian artists of the mid-sixteenth century.