Artworks
Portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715), King of France
0
Be the first to vote…

Contributor

Louis XIV was basically the 17th century version of every chick who Instagram’s about a dozen selfies taken in the bathroom everyday.

After 300 commissioned royal portraits you'd think he'd get tired of posing? #YOLO We can’t technically call this work by Hyacinthe Rigaud a selfie, but what’s a monarch gonna do when he can’t paint for beans, but poses like Kate Upton on the cover of Vogue? Looks like a job for a court painter. That’s where Rigaud comes in. And so the painting ended up becoming the highlight of his career plus Louis’ sexiest portrait.

The portrait was actually supposed to be a weird present for Louis’ grandson, Philip V of Spain, but he pulled a takesy-backsy when he saw the work and was thrilled with the flattering depiction. He sent Philip a copy instead…no comment on the bad present-giving etiquette here. I don’t care if he was a king! Who does that?? ANYWAY. Rigaud wasn’t too fussed about how realistic the portrait was. Which is apparent when you check out the legs on this guy. I mean, what kind of 60 something year old has legs like that? To be fair, Louis had been a ballet dancer in his youth and what you’re seeing might be an enhanced residual of his once toned pins. 

Louis was also kind of short in real life, but like I said, the artist had gone a bit off-script and decided to add some height. It’s also the crazy contortionist twist that enhances him vertically, alongside the cute heels. And speaking of artistic license, someone call K.I.S.S. because I think Louis’s hair should get an audition! Ok to be fair, that could just be a wig and not Rigaud’s Beachy Curls tube of volumizing paint. Everything about this painting looks hot: the hair, the legs, the outfit, but…not so much Louis’ face. The aging emperor doesn’t quite match the rest of his body. Them double chins and laugh lines haven’t been glossed over, so I guess Rigaud was tryin’ to keep it real (and recognizable) in just a few places. Must’ve run out of the botox pigments.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Portrait of Louis XIV

Portrait of Louis XIV in Coronation Robes was painted in 1701 by the French painter Hyacinthe Rigaud after being commissioned by the king who wanted to satisfy the desire of his grandson, Philip V, for a portrait of him. Louis XIV kept it hanging at Versailles. This portrait has become the "official portrait" of Louis XIV.

Context

On the death of King Charles II of Spain on 18 November 1700, Spain was beset by the dynastic ambitions of other European powers, resulting in a succession war. The Spanish king's will ruled out any idea of sharing and placed Philip, Duke of Anjou, second son of the Grand Dauphin and grand-son of Louis XIV at the forefront of legitimate contenders for the crown. The future king of Spain, eager to take with him the image of his grandfather, convinced Louis XIV to order Hyacinthe Rigaud to paint what would become the absolute image of royal power and the reference picture for generations to come:

His reputation [Rigaud] is come to the king, by the portrait he had done of my lord, commander outside the headquarters of Philipsburg, he had the honor in 1700, to be appointed by His Majesty to paint Philippe V, King of Spain, his grandson a few days before his departure to take possession of their kingdoms. This work gave rise to the king of Spain's request to the king, his grandfather, giving it as his portrait painted by the same hand; that His Majesty granted him. Rigaud had the honor to start the following year; and being completed, the monarch found the resemblance so perfect and so beautifully decorated, he ordered him to make a copy of the same size, to send to the King of Spain, instead of original. His Most Christian Majesty is painted foot, clad in royal apparel. This table is ten feet and a half high; it is located in Versailles, in the throne room, and the king of Spain in the office of Her Majesty.

Spoke Hyacinthe Rigaud, through a friend, in the autobiography he sent to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III in 1716.

These statements are corroborated by the mention of the corresponding payment in the books of accounts of the artist, in 1701: "The King and the King of Spain, and a copy of Kings's portrait of the same size as the original for his Catholic Majesty, all 12,000 pounds ", the price of three pictures. The same payment is charged to royal buildings accounts on September 16, 1702: "Two large portraits of King Length, with sketching small portraits of such as also the length portrait of the king of Spain."

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Portrait of Louis XIV.