King Henry IV Wax Mask

Wax masks (often referred to as death masks) were once the preferred way to memorialize a person’s likeness, and could be used to create statues or busts or other pieces of artwork long after the person had passed away.

Newer technology means that documenting physical features can now easily be done with forensic photography.

At Chateau de Chantilly, the wax mask of King Henry IV created by Guillaume Dupré is on display.

This wax mask was created the day after the King died, and was 1 of 2 commissioned. The other was created by fellow artist Germain Jacquet. Jacquet’s mask was used during the funeral ceremonies. Sadly, Jacquet’s mask has disappeared, leaving Dupré’s as the sole remaining mask.

I particularly enjoyed the life-like detailing of the King’s uniform, and was taken by the condition of the centuries old piece. I wish I could have touched it, as my brain doesn’t quite accept that it’s made of wax.

Bonne journée!


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