Louis XIV as He is: Protector of Arts

Louis XIV had an exceptional art taste. We can see its evidences in various things: in his capacity to be a king-creator, to make an artistic environment wherever he appeared, to make the art in any form  serve France and his people. His time is marked with sophisticated dancing and opera art, glory of painting, sculpture, music, literature, etc. And all these forms are filled with light, burnt from his Royal heart.

His Majesty not only knew to select right artistic people, he had a rare talent to match them together in a proper way. I guess this is one of secrets why the French art of his time transmits such a strong creative message and is so sophisticated. Louis, as a true Apollo, was surrounded with his Nymphs, and played the flute of inspiration for them to create. Modern historians like to present this topic as a part of Louis’s politics and an ordinary propaganda. But what a strange thing! The word ‘propaganda’ appeared in French not long before the Revolution and meant ‘to spread the Christian knowledge all over the world or the missionary activity’. So, all what Louis did in the artistic field, should be comprehended as a God’s will and a desire to serve to Lord than to satisfy his personal preferences and ambitions.

Louis XIV had a considerable collection of coins, paintings and other artworks, horses and other exotic animals, keeping the collecting tradition Cardinal de Richelieu started. However he was not an avid reader, so there were few books. The King of France prefered a great dispute or a pleasant conversation and that’s a pity that they are cannot be restored through Time. It would be so curious to learn the style and topics of these amazing talks.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Louis XIV as He is: Sense of Humour


His Majesty’s sense of humour was famous all over France, but not so much among the Habsburgs, his main opponents, as I judge based on my own historical research. It means not only in Louis’s appreciation of staging comedies or comic genre in the whole. His Majesty enjoyed amusing stories,  anecdotes and among his milieu, – (Louis equally respected people of various estates, so his true friends belonged not only to the nobility),- there were plenty of people with a bright sense of humour. Marquis de Dangeau, for example, a diplomat and an author of famous Diaries, used to entertain the King with various funny stories. Duc de Vivonne, Marquise de Montespan’s brother, was another example of a brilliant eccentricity. It is rumored that once he invented a barrel race (a person got into a barrel and then it rolled down from a hill), that was very popular at the Court. Another time he kept a true owl in his Versailles rooms. It created great deal of troubles to others, while mice and grass snakes he had to feed the owl ran away all over the palace. However this very owl named Marie-Lou made Duc popular among the court ladies. Madame de Montespan, by the way, once begged the King to keep little bears in Versailles. Louis agreed, no matter disastrous consequences: animals destroyed decorations of rooms they stayed in. Finally bears were released and returned back to the forest.

And the King was fond of making jokes too. There are numerous anecdotes about Louis XIV. For example: Once Louis asked a courtier whether he knew Spanish. The last one comprehended this question in a serious way and rushed to learn the language. He decided that the King wanted to appoint him a messenger in Spain. So, when the courtier learned the language, he told this news to His Majesty. ‘I’m extremely glad for you, Messire,’ Louis answered. ‘Now you can read Cervantes in the original.’

Vive le Roy!

Maria KethuProfumo

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Happy Anniversary, Louis le Grand!

Esteemed Readers,

today is more than just an ordinary Louis XIV’s birthday. It is his 380th anniversary. 🙂 🙂 🙂 So, let’s wish him many years & all the best wherever in the Universe he is!

Rondeau 1678 dedicated to the King (abstract):

                                           Named Great means to bear a mysterious name,                                                                           everybody believes in and everybody dreams of,                                                                        but only One can make Valour create peace and glory                                                                                                with his own heart,                                                                                                and he is the one for who there are no impossible things to do. 

       Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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At King’s Service: André Campra

André Campra (1660-1744), perhaps, is not as famous as Jean-Baptiste Lully or Jean-Phillipe Rameau, a genius of Louis XV’s time. However, he made much for the French opera to be in blossom, and he played a very significant role in the music of that time.

A son of an Italian surgeon and a music teacher, born in Aix-en-Provence, André Campra got his first music lessons from his father. In May 1678, thanks to a promotion of Cardinal Grimaldi, Campra becomes a priest. He composes a set of brilliant spiritual compositions and becomes a maître de musique in leading cathederals of Arles and Toulouse. From 1694 to 1700 he occupied the same post in the Notre-Dame-de-Paris. He brought a little innovation into the sacred music by adding violins to performance. It caused a wave of criticism in the Church cirles, but added some particular charm and a new vivid air to music compositions.

Since 1700 he began to write for theater and his main merit is that he managed to keep, rennovate and consolidate the French Opera to pass it to J.-P. Rameau, a music spirit of a new time. We should notice his operas to be bright, curious and light for perception. They have a mythological background, rather spread for that epoch, but the interpretations are amusing.

After Louis XIV’s death in 1715 André Compra, supported by Phillip d’Orléans, the Regent of France, occupied a number of important music posts in the Royal Music Academy. He died Juin 29, 1744 in Versailles, left a great opera heritage.

Vive le Roy!

Maria KethuProfumo

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At King’s Service: Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) is a genius of spiritual music of Louis XIV’s time. He is an example of a perfect composer who was able to create profound compositions for various instruments. He was highly appreciated and recognized by his contemporaries and it distinguishes him among other talented colleagues of his time.

We might say that unlike Lully or Delalande, Marc-Antoine Charpentier was more fortunate, as he got a good education at the Jesuits and then spent several years in Rome, where he studied with Giacomo Carissimi, both a composer and a music teacher. This experience allowed Charpentier to learn secrets of the true Italian baroque that soon would make his own music so sophisticated with a bit of Italian air.

Having returned in France he got an appointment at Marie de Lorraine, Duchesse de Guise, for who he composed plenty of vocal works. In 1679 Charpentier became The Great Dauphin’s composer and for several years he wrote devotional pieces. Then he served as a maitre de musique for the Jesuits and was a teacher of a future Regent, Phillip, Duc de Chartres at that time. In 1698 Marc-Antoine was appointed for the Saint-Chapelle in Paris and it was his last post until his death in 1704. Unfortunately brilliant pieces of his music he made for this chapel were lost as they were confiscated by its administration right after his decease.

No matter what, abundance of various experience influenced Charpentier’s art very well. On one hand, he was a Royal composer, but on the other he kept a strong connection with the Church and it makes his masterpieces both pious and exquisite.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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At King’s Service: Michel-Richard Delalande

Michel-Richard Delalande (1657-1726) is another enchanting music spirit of Louis XIV’s time. He was a true virtuoso of mottetti and his music always created a special mood at Royal’s meals. Michel Delalande even composed a set of pieces titled “Music for King’s Suppers’.

Delalande was born in a huge family (14 more children besides him). His father was a tailor and he decided a brilliant music future of his son. A young Michel sang in the chapel Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, then he became a violinist and an organist. He composed plenty of religious pieces of music for various instruments. Later he becames a teacher of clavecins for Louis XIV’s daughters, Louise-Françoise de Bourbon and Marie-Françoise de Bourbon, and it gave him a chance to get a good promotion. Rather soon he held numerous important posts and fulfilled his music duty with diligence until the end of his life.

Michel Delande’s heritage is enormous, while the spirit of his music is rather special. It has some pretty charm and tenderness, reminding of green Versailles gardens and pleasant sounds of fountains and of the Royal milieu, of course. He was a witness of great time and managed to wrote his testimony with notes.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in Art, ballet, Beauty, culture, France, Louis XIV, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

At King’s Service: François Couperin & Family

The Couperin musical family represents another glimpse of the 17th century France. I would say that their music is alike a scented air, rustling trees and  water murmuring, that awake a feeling of a true harmony in our soul. And this impression fits perfectly with the style of life and moods of that time.

The Couperin family, representing a classical French Baroque school, is famous with its wonderful string, organ and clavecin compositions. Francois Couperin (1668-1733), called le Grand/the Great, is one of brilliant representatives of this talented kin. His music is sophisticated, rather versatile and pleasant for listening. He composed both spiritual and secular pieces, so none would be left disappointed.

As for me, I’m fond of his Les Concerts Royaux, as they contain a unique balance of instruments only a true music genius knew to create to make the world hear the sounds of Divinity.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Posted in Art, ballet, culture, folklore, France, Louis XIV, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments