David M. Luebke
315 McKenzie Hall
Image left: Scepter of Charles V of France, by an unknown French goldsmith (ca. 1365-1380). Enamelled, engraved and chased gold with silver and stones. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Image source: Web Gallery of Art. The scepter is listed in the 1379-1380 inventory as one of the items prepared by Charles V and entrusted to the abbot of Saint Denis on 7 May 1380 for the coronation of his son, the future Charles VI. The scepter may have been made for Charles V's own coronation in 1365 and redesigned and embellished for his son. Charles V chose the figure of Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor in 800 and canonized in 1165, to surmount a fleur-de-lis at the top of the scepter. Charlemagne was already worshipped as a saint and the first Valois kings sought legitimacy by venerating him as a political figure. Charles V and his son both bore the first name of their mythical ancestor, Carolus, who had given his name to the Carolingian dynasty to which these kings wished to attach their lineage. The recent accession of the Valois to the crown (Philip VI in 1328) began a new era of art in the service of power. Text source: Musée du Louvre, Paris.