Important bust portrait of Louis of France (1661-1711) known as “Monseigneur” or the “Grand Dauphin”.
The son of King Louis XIV is represented in a bust, wearing an abundant curly wig ending in a mat, he poses proudly, in his precious armor studded with fleur-de-lis.
Over the latter, he wears a lace frill, the blue scarf of the order of the Holy Spirit which bars his breastplate and a satin cape embroidered with gold tied at the waist.
His left hand is resting on his helm while with his right hand he holds up the staff of command *, urging his troops to follow him despite the raging battle *.
In the background, we see galloping riders firing with their muskets.
Despite this din, the face of our prince remains impassive, it conveys the absence of fear and the bravery of the one who is number one in the order of succession to the crown.
On the reverse:
Ex-libris of provenance pasted on the canvas with the Comtales coat of arms of the Rivière Pré d´Auge family. *
Ink inscription "Cesse de Trogoff, née de Clacy N ° 413" *
Very good state of conservation; original canvas and frame.
French school from the beginning of the 18th century, probably produced by the copyists' workshop of the Cabinet des tableaux de la Superintendance des Batiments du Roi in Versailles *, after the composition painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1697 and no longer present. *
Frame: Height: 142 cm; Width: 130cm
Canvas: Height: 125 cm; Width: 110cm
* The staff of command does not bear fleur-de-lis because it is not a marshal's staff, the son of the king of France, prince of the blood, being above the marshal.
Such sticks without fleur-de-lis are found on the portraits of other princes of the blood, for example the king's brother or the prince of Conti, his cousin, or even Dukes who were also above.
* The battle in the background represents the glorious capture of Philippsbourg in 1688 by the Grand Dauphin.
The red flag with a white stripe is that of the Austrian troops commanded by Count Maximilian Von Starhemberg.
* The ex-libris represents the alliance arms of François Charles Alexandre de la Rivière, Count of Pré d'Auge (1739-1794) and his wife Anne Charlotte Rose de Fresnel.
In March 1766, François de la Rivière, the king's musketeer, became the first count of Rivière Pré-d'Auge.
"By letters patent of March 1766, the King Louis XV granted the reunion of the lands of Pré-d'Auge and of the Sword, in a single Lordship which he erected in County, under the name of" La Rivière Pré -d'Auge ", in consideration of the services of the incumbent, François, Charles, Alexandre de la Rivière, and those of his ancestors as well as the antiquity of his nobility who had never joined forces."
Our painting may have been given by the king on this occasion or previously for a deed of arms, to one of the ancestors of this illustrious family.
It was probably exhibited in the family castle which was looted during the revolution.
* The ink inscription refers to No. 413 of the sale of April 10, 1851 of the Countess of Trogoff, née Marguerite-Joséphine Parat de Clacy.
The latter, owner of a chateau in Brittany and a private mansion in Paris, probably bought our painting during the restoration.
* The cabinet of paintings of the superintendent of the buildings of the king, located in Versailles was created in 1670 by King Louis XIV to preserve the most precious paintings, restore them and make copies of the royal effigies of which it holds exclusive rights.
Up to seven copyists are working to meet the demand, which is colossal, the delay before delivery even borders on ten years at times, so much the possession of a royal portrait is a real stake for the nobility.
Many of the portraits of prince which have come down to us and which are attributed to the workshops of the great painters, in fact came from this official workshop which could demonstrate great skill.
Some pharmacy painters, such as Jean-Martial Fredou, even achieved significant fame.
Our hypothesis is reinforced by the attested presence of the original painting in the cabinet in 1784, on the south wall of the sixth room, where the painting is exhibited alongside another portrait by Rigaud, that of the Duke of Burgundy.
* The original portrait was made in 1697 and invoiced for 2000 pounds by the grand master Hyacinthe Rigaud, the bottom battle was by Parrocel.
This portrait of Rigaud was therefore very successful and launched the start of royal commissions for the artist who painted the portrait of King Louis XIV full-length.
The pose in armor, with the staff of command and a battle in the background, will remain fashionable not only with the master but it will be taken up by many painters throughout the 18th century, being considered the very symbol of the ble knight serving his kingdom.
The effigy of the Grand Dauphin was in great demand because he was the son of King Louis XIV, who was taken to the throne, but also the father of the new King of Spain Philippe V.
Between 1700 and 1721 the studio of Rigaud (Parrocel, Ranc, Leprieur, Delaunay, Viénot) will make more than twenty copies which are today exhibited at the Palace of Versailles, at the Royal Palace in Madrid or at the Pinacoteca in Munich .
The original, not exhibited and kept in the cabinet des tableaux, will disappear during the revolution; it is today not located.
Our opinion :
The absence of the original portrait does not allow us to know if the original framing was tightened at the waist as on our model and that of Versailles, which present an almost square format, or on the contrary, if it was more elongated, to mid-thigh like the copy of the royal palace in Madrid.
Aside from the framing, the majority of known copies use the same composition, whether in the pose, the armor, or the face of the Dauphin, who is shown quite young, at the age of 36.
Our copy takes up this composition but with some variations, in the armor with visible fleur-de-lis, in the helmet or the back with a battle visible only on the right side of the work, but above all, it presents the Dauphin in a older age, around fifty, some time before his death in 1711, which is unique.
The particularly fine features of the face are very close to those of old King Louis XIV, they were perhaps made from nature, because they do not appear on any other known copy, which makes our work an original and not a simple one. workshop copy.
Our portrait is very beautifully made, it is presented in a beautiful state of preservation, with a prestigious provenance and perfectly symbolizes the power of the French monarchy under the old regime.