The Fabrication of Louis XIV

October 31, 2020
The Fabrication of Louis XIV

Louis XIV was a man like any other, but the money and attentionlavished on his public image by the French government transformedhim into a godlike figure. In this engrossing book, aninternationally respected historian gives an account ofcontemporary representations of Louis XIV and shows how the makingof the royal image illuminates the relationship between art andpower.  Images of Louis XIV included hundreds of oil paintingsand engravings, three-hundred-odd medals struck to commemorate themajor events of the reign, sculptures, and bronzes, as well asplays, ballets (in which the king himself sometimes appeared onstage), operas, odes, sermons, official newspapers and histories,fireworks, fountains, and tapestries. Drawing on an analysis ofthese representations as well as on surviving documentary sources,Peter Burke shows the conscious attempt to "invent" the image ofthe king and reveals how the supervision of the royal image wasentrusted to a commitee, the so-called small academy. Thisbook is not only a fascinating chronological study of the mechanicsof the image-making of a king over the course of a seventy-yearreign but is also an investigation into the genre of culturalconstruction. Burke discusses the element of propaganda implicit inimage-making, the manipulation of seventeenth-century media ofcommunication (oral, visual, and textual) and their codes (literaryand artistic), and the intended audience and its response. Heconcludes by comparing and contrasting Louis's public image withthat of other rulers ranging from Augustus to contemporary Americanpresidents.Extensive improvements to scan, including perspective correctionand dewarping, ocr with table of contents.