Portraits of the Royal Family


Shown here is a bronze engraving, on which ten miniatures are attached, each of which contains the portrait of a different individual who was a member of or associated with the French royal family. The portraits are painted in grey tones on parchment (portrait of Louis XIV) or directly on copper. The miniatures, by Antoine Benoist (1632−1717), painter and wax sculptor of the king, represent (from bottom to top): Louis XIII at 40 years of age, inspired by Jean Varin’s portrait, made in 1704; Queen Marie-Thérèse at 22 years of age; Anne of Austria at 43 years of age, inspired by Jean Varin’s portrait; Philip V, king of Spain, at 17 years of age, in 1700; Charles, duke of Berry at 18 years of age, 1703; Louis, duke of Burgundy at 22 years of age (indicated as having posed for this portrait) in 1704; Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, duchess of Burgundy, at 18 years of age, in 1703; Louis, “le grand Dauphin” at 23 years of age; Marie Anne Christine, “madame la Dauphine” at 24 years of age (who also posed for this portrait); and Louis XIV at 66 years of age, in 1704. On the back of several of these medallions are handwritten annotations by Benoist. The frame is crowned by the sun above a globe adorned with three lily flowers surrounded by the zodiac, with the inscription omnibus idem (the same for all). The background of the frame is a horn plate dyed on the back in cobalt blue, split in many places. This panel and its matching counterpart were sent to the Cabinet des Médailles on January 18, 1797 (29 Nivôse, Year V in 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