Louis Xiv Grandeur Analysis

2000 Words8 Pages
At the age of twenty-three Louis XIV of France declared his determination to be what he referred to as ‘real king’ – to become the sole and absolute ruler of France. To achieve this he invested himself in establishing a meticulous routine, but never did the king view his duties as a toil as his belief was that it was the primary duty of a royal prince to always present himself as noble and composed. Willing in his search for glorification, Louis spent his lifetime creating a magnificent and grand spectacle at the court of Versailles. The self-proclaimed ‘Roi du Soleil’ believed wholly in the theory of absolute monarchy and consciously spent his years embodying the spirit of the sun, and employing countless displays of spectacle which frequently…show more content…
From this relatively minor action the control and power of Louis XIV is immediately brought to a forefront by Félibien, as it is written that is was on the word of the king alone that the entire event commenced. The narration of the period between the grand opening and the first spectacle describes elements of the sheer opulence of Louis XIV, which serve as the first exemplification of the power he wishes to portray – the section contains the first mention of water fountains, a feature which serves as a symbol of perhaps the ultimate triumph of Louis, as the feat of simply supplying enough water to sustain such numerable displays is not only an exhibition of the power of the king’s will, but also serves as an exhibition of Louis’ power over nature. In both Félibien’s account and the engravings of Le Pautre the exuberance of the scene of the collation is brought to life, a scene which is set in an arena which physically embodies the triumph of Louis over nature as the physical structure of the space is formed from the twisting and moulding of branches and flowers into a star-shaped enclosure. The choice of Louis to create this star-shaped space is the first acknowledgement of his…show more content…
The entire structure itself formed in the shape of an octagon, and the reference throughout the description by Félibien to the significance of the number eight, along with the use of rounded arches and pillars suggests a determination to pay homage to Roman architecture – and specifically referring to the age of Constantine rule and the octagonal martyriums the emperor had built. This connection to Constantine proposes an attempt by Louis to associate himself with the epitome of successful Christian leadership. The setting of the souper provides further exemplification of the triumph of Louis over water, as visible in Le Pautre’s engravings are a plethora of fountains, with one placed upon every pillar in the space. Again, the king’s vast display of wealth is at a forefront as spectacle simply through the sheer volume of platters present at the souper – the volume serves as a reminder of the power and greatness of Louis as it paints him as a generous man, willing to provide an abundance for all. The setting also provides reference to the significance of the number four, as documented by Félibien the number denotes both the four humours, and the four seasons – thus creating a link between Louis and his will to appear in harmony with the world, a trait necessary of a true
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