The Joy of Museums

Exploring Museums, Art & Historic Sites

“Louis XIV of France” by Hyacinthe Rigaud

Louis XIV of France

“Louis XIV of France” by Hyacinthe Rigaud

“Louis XIV of France” by Hyacinthe Rigaud is a large portrait of the ageing (63 years old) French King in his Coronation Robes. Louis XIV kept it hanging at Versailles, and it become the “official portrait” of Louis XIV. This portrait set the standard and formula for future state portraits. Rigaud signed and dated this painting with “Painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1701” on the column just above the goddess of Justice.

The king occupies the central space of the painting whose composition consists of a column, the king and the throne. The drama of the scene is accentuated by a heavy silk draped curtain. The large marble pillar is an evocation of power that unites earthly and heavenly powers. The throne is upholstered in blue and embroidered with fleur-de-lys, which was a religious, political and dynastic, symbol in French heraldry. The king embodies the majesty of choice because he does not bear his regalia. His crown sits on a stool covered with a blue fleur-de-lys drapery. The sceptre of his grandfather held upside down as a cane. The sword of Charlemagne is visible. Wearing this sword with the coronation mantle is a statement of confidence and power.

King Louis XIV is clothed in a wig, and court garments of lace shirt, cuffs and he wears the necklace of the Order the Holy Spirit and the royal coat pinned high on the shoulder. The red-heeled shoes adorned with diamond buckles, and silk stockings held by garters are used to highlight and feature the former dancer’s thin legs, which pleased the king.

Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter most famous for his portraits of Louis XIV and other members of the French nobility. Rigaud’s works today can be found in the world’s major museums.

Louis XIV of France

  • Title:                Louis XIV (1638–1715)
  • Artist:              Hyacinthe Rigaud
  • Created:          1701
  • Media:             Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:   277 × 194 cm (109 × 76.3 in)
  • Museum:        The Louvre

Hyacinthe Rigaud

  • Name:              Jacint Rigau-Ros i Serra
  • Born:                1659 – Perpignan, France
  • Died:                1743 (aged 84) – Paris, France
  • Nationality:    French
  • Movement:    Baroque
  • Masterpieces:
    • Louis XIV of France

~~~

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” Leonardo da Vinci

~~~


Photo Credit 1) Hyacinthe Rigaud [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons