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Philibert le Beau, Duke of Savoy

Conrat Meitpre 1523/24

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

This diminutive bust depicts Duke Philibert II of Savoy (1480–1504), who died prematurely at the age of 24. In 1501 he married Margaret of Austria (1480–1530), daughter of Emperor Maximilian I and subsequently regent of The Netherlands. The duke is portrayed here without any insignia. His elegant attire, his beret tipped back at a jaunty angle, and the spontaneity of the head movement, turning to look over his shoulder, suggest a self-assured personality. The young man’s facial features are most lifelike, so that, despite its miniature dimensions, the bust possesses a remarkable monumentality and presence. Margaret’s court sculptor Conrat Meit, who was in her service in Mechelen starting around 1514, made this portrait bust only after the duke’s death. He must have taken the likeness from existing portraits and the widow’s description.

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