Artwork: Louis XIV
Artist: Hyacinthe Rigaud
Medium: Oil on Canvas
HERE. HE. IS!!!!
King Louis XIV a.k.a THE SUN KING!
The portrait, showing the King in coronation robes, was painted in 1701 by the French painter, Hyacinthe Rigaud, who was commissioned by the King to produce the work at the request of his grandson, Philip V, for a portrait of him.
Louis liked it so much however, he kept it hanging at Versailles and ordered a copy to be made and sent to Philip V instead.
What a guy?!
The work shows Louis XIV as the living embodiment of absolute power and royalty. Louis is pictured standing before a highly decorative throne dressed in an elaborate wig, showing the viewer the lavish court life and dress code, Louie had become so well associated with. Here he shows the sword of the great King Charlemagne. His robes are covered in fleur de lys, the symbol of French royalty.
Few Kings and Queens come close to Louis XIV’s love of art.
Fewer still come close to the level at which Louis commemorated himself in the form of art! He was even one of the first Kings to use art as propaganda to emphasise his rightful rule to his people across France!
Let us being with the basics.
In his lifetime, the King commissioned over 300 formal portraits of himself and in later life, he developed a love of commissioning works which depicted him as roman emperors or gods.
As. You. Do!
Louis generously supported the royal court of France and those who worked under him. He brought the Académie Française under his patronage, became its "Protector". Single-handedly securing its future.
He allowed Classical French literature to flourish by protecting such writers as Molière, Racine, and La Fontaine, whose works remain greatly influential to this day.
Louis also supported the visual arts by funding and commissioning various artists, such as Charles Le Brun, Pierre Mignard, Antoine Coysevox, and Hyacinthe Rigaud, whose works became famous throughout Europe. He also founded the Royal Academy of Drama and the Royal Academy of Dance within his lifetime.
Louis XIV’s greatest commission and support of the arts however, comes in the transformation of his old hunting lodge to the magnificent palace of Versailles!
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