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! 🙂