The Second Body of the King

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey say that this portrait of Louis XIV is inspired by a more famous portrait painted by Rigaud. The obvious difference is that here the painter, under the pressure of common sense, decided to abandon those prancing legs of a dancer. So, it had been decided for the sake of decorum to give up the representation of the full body of the absolute monarchy. What about the aging face? We see that the lines around the eyes are stylized to match the lines of His Majesty’s eyebrows. The sagging cheeks and the double chin also echo the eyebrows: we could say that together these features, the eyebrows and cheeks, form the parenthesis of the face. In the parenthesis is the aquiline Bourbon nose, pointing back to Henry IV, just like the H’s on the chain of the Order of Holy Spirit. These commas create a number of frames extending to the curls of the wig, as well as the lace of the cravat. We could say that this painting style is more appropriate for a miniature, where the drawing dominates the color and the accent is on the eyes. The eyes of course are looking back; and as a look into the past they mirror the lion in lace of the previous decades. Here is the bridge, the wormhole, and the full stop. Who is this present person? No longer a hero, but not exactly a sage. This moment is critical: the aging body of the monarch has to be replaced by his other body, the all-powerful state.


About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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