Cameo with Portrait of Louis XIV


This cameo, in a red-tinged onyx in three layers mounted on gold and colored enamel, represents King Louis XIV as a teenager. The triumphant crown on his head is a direct reference to ancient Rome and the Roman generals. This exaltation of royal power foretells the military success of the future king. During the years of his personal reign (1661−1715), Louis XIV continually pushed out the borders of the kingdom of France to the north and east, reaching the city of Lille and several other major towns as well as the Franche-Comté region and the city of Strasbourg. He pursued a policy aimed at enlarging the country and rationalizing its borders, which were protected by the citadels of the “iron belt,” built by the military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633−1707), who fortified the towns conquered by the French military.

Last updated: April 23, 2015