The Procession of Pierre Séguier.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf all the paintings by Le Brun, this one is really worthy of praise. To appreciate the work, we do not need a homoerotic fantasy in which an old pervert surrounds himself with handsome youths; and although I have no intention of freeing my readers from their post-Freudian nightmare, I have to explain that what appeals to me in the picture is simply a series of details united by an idea, the idea of a portrait in a procession — the portrait as an event — a parade of the French Court through the streets of Paris to celebrate the marriage of Louis XIV and Marie-Therese of Austria, and where everyone, even the painter — probably included among the pages, everyone, but the protagonist, is wrapped in the cloak of anonymity. The idea of the the pages encircling the equestrian figure, all united by the gestures of deference to the rider, heads bear, all wearing the same colors, and most importantly the uniformed courtly red hills with grey bows and grey stockings, which convey that rhythmic motion that would be peculiar to a procession, make Pierre Seguier himself a member of a series of all the dignitaries qualified to attend such an event, and that in its own right is an interesting idea wherein an individual is treated as a member of a class, in his own turn ready to dissolve among his equals.

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