Images of Power in the Time of Louis XIV

Department of French & Italian

Comments? Questions? To contact:

français | English


Our goal is to show meaningful images from the Louis XIV era in order discuss the Sun King and to examine the different manifestations of his power. The site is a pedagogical resource available to all.

Happy reading and see you online!
Russ Ganim


This site illustrates the manner in which Louis XIV made use of images to spread the idea of monarchical power in the Seventeenth Century. In the time of the Sun King, artistic expression was used to achieve political ends. We will examine how the strength and grandeur of the crown expressed itself through 1) painting, 2) sculpture, 3) architecture and interior design, and 4) gardens. We will focus our attention on the chateau of Versailles. But in order to provide more examples of the relationship between art and power, it will also be useful to study the chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the main residence of Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finance under Louis XIV.
In studying the works of this era, we will call attention to certain themes, such as 1) absolutism, 2) the relationship between the king and the nobility, 3) the link between monarchy and classical mythology, and 4) comparisons and contrasts between neoclassical and baroque styles.

Click here for information on the political and artistic history of the period.

Created by the
Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Libraries

This page last updated on August 6, 2010.

Hosted by
The University of Iowa Libraries