This exhibition, Louis XIV, the man and the king, brings together more than 300 exceptional works coming from collections all over the world and never shown together before. Paintings, sculptures, objets d’art and furniture will be exhibited. These masterpieces, some of which have never been presented in France since the days of the Ancien Régime, will enable visitors to get to know the famous monarch better in both his personal tastes and through his public image.
The richness of the image of Louis XIV has no precedent in history: Louis XIV is the Sun King, i.e. Apollo as the sun god. Fashioned by the king himself and his counsellors, this image constantly evolved to convey emblematic figures of the royal power: the king of war leading his troops, the patron king and protector of the arts, the very Christian king and Defender of the Church, the king of glory, an image constructed for posterity. This visible glory, given mythical proportions, which was constructed during his lifetime, took shape thanks to the excellence of the artists chosen, such as Bernini, Girardon, Rigaud, Cucci, Gole, Van der Meulen and Coysevox who set out to sublimate the royal portrait.
Louis XIV saw himself as a king who was the protector of the arts and a collector, competing with other sovereigns of Europe who were also genuine connoisseurs. Benefiting from the example of Mazarin, Louis XIV formed his taste in direct contact with artists, and through the personal relations that he established with them: Le Brun and Mignard in painting, Le Vau and Hardouin-Mansart in architecture, Le Nôtre in the art of gardens, Lully in music, and Molière in theatre.
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