Antoine Caron

Drawing for Catherine de’ Medici

Dominique Cordellier, Frédéric Hueber, Ketty Gottardo

This catalog accompanies the first exhibition dedicated to Antoine Caron's graphic work and explores the role the Queen Mother Regent Catherine de' Medici played in a key series of drawings, some reunited here for the first time.
Date Published :
February 2018
Publisher :
Paul Holberton Publishing
Illustration :
40 color illustrations
No associated books available.


This catalogue accompanies an exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery, which is the first dedicated to the graphic oeuvre of Antoine Caron (1521–1599). Bringing together a core group of drawings centered around the figures and deeds of the French Royal family, the Valois, this display highlights the role played by Catherine de’ Medici (1519–1589). Featuring the Valois series, a set of drawings here reunited for the first time, the display showcases the way in which the powerful and influential Catherine promoted the success of her regency and future of her progeny by delivering a series of lavish courtly events that were meant to enhance the power and diplomacy of her family.

The drawings represent jousts, tournaments, festivals and a mock naval battle, events that occurred at the French court during the reigns of Catherine’s sons Charles IX and Henri III. Preparatory designs for a group of tapestries, these visual documents relate to actual events that were organized by the court, some of which took place at the French castles of Anet, Palace of Fontainebleau, Bayonne and at the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Minutely designed, they thus allow a reconstruction of the visual testimony of those events, as they were documented in written contemporary sources.

Antoine Caron: Drawing for Catherine de’ Medici is the latest in a series of books accompanying critically acclaimed Courtauld displays, which showcase aspects of the Gallery’s outstanding permanent collection.

About The Author

Dominique Cordellier is curator at the Louvre Museum.

Frédéric Hueber, École pratique des Hautes Études, University of Geneva

Ketty Gottardo is curator at the Courtauld Gallery;


"For an insight into image-making and legacy-building—made all the more interesting by the fact their architect was a 16th-century matriarch—look no further."

- Vanity Fair

"Showcases the way in which Catherine promoted herself and her dynasty through lavish courtly events."

- Apollo

"Caron’s charming drawings teem with incident and detail, as well as flashes of wit, hurling us headlong into the astonishing world of the Valois 'Magnificences' – festivals, ceremonies and sporting events, as the catalogue informs us, organised by the last Valois kings of France. And if Caron’s visual record of these royal jamborees is even half grounded in fact, then, my goodness, their scope, ambition, and exorbitant cost must have beggared belief."

- The Telegraph

"Caron’s drawings ... take you to the heart of this ornate culture."

- The Guardian

"This fine catalogue ... highlights Caron's immense talent and illustrious patronage ... shows how small exhibitions on focused subjects and their publications elicit a wealth of new interest and research."

- The Burlington, November 2018