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Title

Louis Le Grand


Artists

Pierre Drevet

France

1663 - 1738

after Hyacinthe Rigaud

France

1659 - 1743


About

This print reproduces the most recognised effigy of King Louis XIV, and one of the icons of Baroque royal portraiture. The prototype is Hyacinthe Rigaud’s full-length painted portrait, which was commissioned in 1701 as a gift from Louis to his grandson, Philippe Duke of Anjou, who had been recently crowned as Philip V – the first Bourbon to rule as king of Spain. The portrait was such a success, however, that it was never dispatched to Madrid.

Rigaud’s portrait represents the 63-year-old monarch in the splendour of his coronation robes: he wears an ermine-lined cloak embroidered with fleurs-de-lis, and around his neck the chain of the Order of the Holy Spirit; his hand rests on the sceptre, and from his side hangs the sword of Charlemagne; behind him on a stool are the French crown and the ‘hand of justice’.

When the director of the king’s buildings commanded that a printed replica be made of the portrait, the prestigious (and laborious) commission fell upon Pierre Drevet, the most esteemed reproductive engraver of his age. Drevet, in fact, never worked from Rigaud’s original but copied it from a specially made intermediary drawing by Jean-Marc Nattier (now in the Phoenix Art Museum), which corresponds in size to the finished engraving. It is highly likely, however, that Rigaud, a close friend of Drevet’s, took a keen, overseeing interest in the project.

Although this engraving is twice removed from Rigaud’s portrait, it nonetheless faithfully reflects the sumptuous textures and details of the original, and stands as a testament to the heights of technical brilliance attained by French portrait engravers in the 18th century.

Peter Raissis, Prints & drawings Europe 1500–1900, 2014


Details


Date

1714-1715


Media category

Print


Materials used

engraving


Dimensions

69.5 x 52.1 cm (trimmed to platemark)


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Purchased 1950


Location

Not on display


Accession number

8520


Artist information

Pierre Drevet

Works in the collection

2

Artist information

after Hyacinthe Rigaud

Works in the collection

2


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 7 publications

Bibliography


Amboise Firmin-Didot, Les Drevet (Pierre, Pierre-Imbert et Claude): catalogue raisonné de leur œuvre, précédé d’une introduction, Paris, 1876, p 55.

Ariane James and Emmanuel Coquery, Visages du Grand Siècle: le portrait français sous le règne de Louis XIV, 1660–1715, Nantes, 1997, p 267. no 140

Mary O'Neill, Hyacinthe Rigaud’s drawings for his engravers, Nov 1984, pp 681-82.

Peter Raissis, Le Grand Siècle, Sydney, 1997, illus cover, p 8. no catalogue numbers

Peter Raissis, Prints & drawings Europe 1500-1900, Sydney, 2014, col illus p 73.

Marcel Roux, Inventaire du fonds français, graveurs du dix-huitième siècle, 1949, vol 7, p 330. no 81

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, 'Le Grand Siècle', pg. 23, Heidelberg, Jul 1997, illus p 23.