Our portrait illustrates Louis XIV dressed in the Roman style and leading a cavalry charge against the backdrop of the siege of the city of Maastricht.
Oil on canvas, Pierre Mignard and his workshop, circa 1680
Dimensions: canvas: h. 74 cm w. 62.5 cm framed: h. 91.5 cm, l. 80.5 cm
Original frame in finely carved and gilt wood
The work that weare offering is a variant executed by Pierre Mignard and his workshop of the famous painting of 1673 kept at the Palace of Versailles (monumental size h. 311 cm) of which there are several workshop replicas, two in Versailles, as well as at the museums of Turin, Narbonne, Reims and Rennes.
Our work differs from the original composition in the execution of the background: the city of Maastricht appears to the right of the king, we observe the horsemen as well as the siege with the trenches and the camps of the troops, the sky is charged with black smoke from cannon balls.
Following the capture of the city in just 13 days, Louis XIV proud of his victory commissioned the painting from the court painter, Pierre Mignard, the success of this work led to orders for replicas of workshops mainly to serve as diplomatic gifts as well as to honor some marshals of the king.
Our work is interesting because while being a variant of the painting of Versailles, Pierre Mignard decides to demonstrate the siege of Maastricht with more attention to detail and realism.
Louis XIV, in the center and in the foreground of the painting, on a prancing bay horse, is dressed in the Roman style. A large red cape is hooked to its shoulder, it follows the movement of the horse and flies in the wind. He is dressed in a metallic-shimmering breastplate, leather strapped skirt and blue tights. Her feet are shod in antique-style lace-up sandals. He grips the red harness of his horse in his left hand, while in his right hand he holds the fleurdelisée staff.
The equestrian figure stands out against a bluish distance, showing the movement of troops and the fortified city of Maastricht, capital of Limburg.
Above him in the heavens, the Winged Victory approaches to place a laurel wreath on his head, a symbol of his military glory. While floating above the monarch, the deity holds out a banner adorned with the radiant sun, a symbolic attribute widely associated with the French king. The latter, the supple and natural bearing, gazes solemnly at the viewer, gracefully mounted on his horse, a leopard skin for a saddle.
The light focused on the king is a reflection of the image of the monarch at the height of his power and glory. Positioning himself as a warlord and Roman emperor, Louis XIV asserts his power of divine origin and his desire for domination beyond the borders of France.