His Majesty


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrior to the XVII century portraits like this one were rare; but if we consider the claim that a seated figure always represented authority, we may wonder why an iconography of such importance and universality had been so neglected, was it because this position was traditionally reserved for Christ in majesty? For sure, this is not the Last Judgement. Here the Sun King doesn’t judge: His posture is not frontal. But in the XVII century we need all of his body, for body is established as a semiotic field, where meaning is generated through a binary system of details that flow from top to bottom: the crown — the helmet, the cuirass — the lace, the sword — the cane, the high heels — the lion claws: Louis XIV is a fashionista to the tips of his mustachios; yet, to return to the first problem, some things we’ll never know, for what did exactly la Grande Mademoiselle have in mind when she said that he was God?

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