Portraits of Louis the Great at Various Ages


Shown here is a bronze engraving on which ten medallions are attached, each of which contains, behind a glass plate, a portrait of Louis XIV (the Sun King) at a different stage of his life. The portraits are painted in grey tones on paper glued onto metal, and they depict the king at five, ten, 16, 22, 28, 34, 40, 46, 54 and 59 years of age. The frame is crowned by the sun above a globe adorned with three lily flowers surrounded by the zodiac, with the inscription micat inter omnes (he shines among all). The background of the frame is a horn plate dyed on the back in cobalt blue, split in many places. The miniatures were painted in 1704 by Antoine Benoist (1632−1717), painter and wax sculptor of the king. This panel and its matching counterpart were sent to the Cabinet des Médailles on January 18, 1797 (29 Nivôse, Year V of the Republican calendar used in the period of the French Revolution) by Villette, chief executive of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, the furniture and art depository of the crown.

Last updated: April 23, 2015