Born to be king: The life, death and subsequent desecration of Louis XIV.

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Author: John Rogister
Date: Aug. 5, 2016
From: TLS. Times Literary Supplement(Issue 5914)
Publisher: NI Syndication Limited
Document Type: Book review
Length: 1,891 words
Lexile Measure: 1410L

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Gerard Sabatier and Beatrix Saule, editors


Louis XIV 1715

335pp. Tallandier. 44.90 [euro].

979 10 210 1337 7

Remi Mathis, Vanessa

Selbach, Louis Marchesano and Peter Fuhring, editors


L'Estampe francaise au temps de Louis XIV (1660-1715)

332pp. Bibliotheque nationale de France/Getty

Research Institute. 55 [euro].

978 2 7177 2663 3

Charissa Bremer-David, editor


Tapestries of Louis XIV

168pp. J. Paul Getty Museum. $49.95.

978 1 60606 461 0

William Ritchie Newton


Les Baraques autour du Chateau de Versailles. Le Nouveau Marche. L'Hotel de Limoges

515pp. Honore Champion. 99 [euro].

978 2 7453 2965 3

Lucien Bely, editor


1,408pp. Laffont. 32 [euro].

978 2 221 12482 6

Joel Cornette


Apogee et crepuscule de la royaute 1er Septembre 1715

367pp. Gallimard. 21 [euro].

978 2 07 078120 1

Helene Delalex


191pp. Gallimard/Chateau de Versailles. 29 [euro].

978 2 07 014959 9

Last September marked the tercentenary of Louis XIV's death. At least three impressive exhibitions were held, one on the King's death at the Palace of Versailles, a second at the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF) on the development and impact of prints and engravings during his period of personal rule from 1661 to 1715, and a third at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles on the tapestries commissioned or bought by the King for display on ceremonial occasions. Two professors at the Sorbonne, Joel Cornette andLucien Bely, have used the anniversary to produce an analysis of his reign, and in the case of Bely, a wideranging and detailed dictionary of its many aspects. A curator at Versailles, meanwhile, has tried to get behind the King's majestic facade to discover his personality. And finally, readers of the TLS can renew their interest in the ongoing work of William Ritchie Newton on the topography and occupancy of Versailles and of its multitude of outlying buildings.

Cornette's account of the reign in La Mort de Louis XIV proceeds along familiar lines. The child King is watched over by his mother Queen Anne as Regent and her clever but unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin. They steered a somewhat precarious ship of state through the rebellious Frondes and Spanish military invasion. Immediately after Mazarin's death in 1661, the King assumed full authority and embarked on an impressive restructuring of the machinery of government and on the creation of academies and institutions that would develop the arts, sciences and manufacturing. The King's thirst for military glory led to the projection of himself as a heroic figure through art and literature. The number of commemorative medals rose from thirty-seven struck in 1683 to 286 in 1702. Charles Le Brun, the King's new official painter, was responsible for depicting the diplomatic and military successes of the early part of the reign on the ceilings of the state rooms at Versailles. Several French cities followed the trend, building statues and triumphal arches glorifying the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A635182246