Adam-Franz van der Meulen

Louis XIV Travelling

Louis XIV Travelling
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Adam-Franz van der Meulen
Painting, Oil on canvas, 59x82 cm
Origin: France, 1664

Van der Meulen was one of the best-known court painters of Louis XIV's reign. He was responsible for the depiction of views of royal castles, hunting scenes, royal processions and travels. Louis XIV Travelling is a superb example of works of this type. Van der Meulen skillfully organizes space and avoids making the portrayal of the journey boring. The procession snakes along, following the curves in the road between the hills and trees, and the viewer's gaze is drawn to the distance. An illusion is created of slow and uninterrupted movement of a throng of people. Louis XIV's carriage is drawn by a team of six horses and it is accompanied by his retinue and musketeers. The artist has devoted his attention mainly to this group. He conveys the most minute details of decoration on the carriage, the harnesses of the horses and the costumes, while at the same time avoiding all hint of dullness. The movements of his brush are light and unconstrained. The bright colours do not create a feeling of garishness.

Meulen depicted the king sitting in the carriage by himself. This may seem somewhat strange, but the well-known memoirist and writer on the mores of this age, the Duc de Saint-Simon, recalls this detail of court life: "On hunts, promenades or when he spent a night in Marly or Meudon, he travelled alone in the carriage. He did not want conversations which his retinue might have conducted with him in the carriage".

Personage: Louis XIV
Source of entry: Acquired in 1801
Theme: History
Exibition: The Menshikov Palace

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