Historical and Commemorative
Collection of Benjamin Weiss
WARIN, Jean: France, 1660, Bronze, 54 mm
Jules Cardinal Mazarin, (1602-1661), was the first minister of France after Cardinal Richelieu's death in 1642. During the early years of King Louis XIV, he completed Richelieu's work of establishing France's supremacy among the European powers and crippling the opposition to the power of the monarchy at home.
According to Mark Jones: The reverse of this medal indicates that while Mazarin watches over the destiny of France all will be well. Jones writes further that it is an extraordinary reflection of Mazarin's dominant position at this time that he ordered three different medals showing himself as the arbiter of France's destiny, while ordering only one each for Louis XIV and Anne of Austria. This indicated a remarkable disregard for even the outward forms that normally governed relations between subject and monarch and may underlie Louis' decision to order a large series of medals glorifying the state as represented through the person of the King as well as his hostility toward the production of personal portrait medals, other than those of himself. Indeed, not one of his later ministers dared follow Mazarin's example by ordering even the most modest portrait medal.