Collection of Benjamin Weiss
DUFOUR, Jean-Baptiste: France, 1684, Bronze, 52 mm
Jean Warin was born at Liege about 1604 and died in Paris in 1672. He is considered to be one of the foremost medallists of France and the best French Engraver of coin-dies of the seventeenth century. Of the many medals attributed to him, most were engraved and struck although some were cast. Besides medal making Jean Warin had a variety of other interests. He distinguished himself somewhat as a painter but most particularly as a sculptor, even rivaling the great Italian sculptor Bernini. He also experimented in medal making capacity of machinery and helped develop an improved method for coin making. In fact, his fame was established more for his other artistic endeavors than for those as a medallist.
Jean Warin led a somewhat checkered personal life. He seduced the wife of one of his compatriots and was accused at one point of forging coins, for which he was sentenced to banishment for five years. Fortunately for him he had cultivated a champion in Cardinal Richelieu, who, so as not to lose the skill of this great artist, intervened on his behalf, resulting in a pardon.
Jean Warin occupies a pivotal place in the history of medallic art. He took the techniques developed during the Italian renaissance, and by mastering the machinery at the Monnaie du Moulin, transformed the art to serve the state. His influence extended not only in France but throughout all of Northern Europe, well into the eighteenth century. (From Forrer and Jones).
Dufour was a pupil of Warin. The inscription on the reverse refers to Warin's conception of himself as master of all arts.