Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 08

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King's Jackal, The. Lion And The Unicorn. Long Arm, The. Lost House, The. Lost Road, The. Lost Road, etc, The. Make-Believe Man, The. Men Of Zanzibar, The. Messengers, The. Miss Civilization. My Buried Treasure. Nature Faker, The. Pronounced political and religious frictions resulted in widespread unrest and warfare. The Treaty of Westphalia marked the abandonment of a united Christian Europe and accepted the practical realties of secular political systems. The building of todays nation-states was emphatically underway. Although its economy was not as expansive as that of the Dutch Republic, France became Europes largest and most powerful country in the 17th century.

Against this backdrop the arts flourished. Romes ancient and Renaissance monuments enticed many French artists to study there. Poussin spent most of his life in Rome, where he produced grandly severe paintings modelled on those of Titian and Raphael. He also carefully worked out a theoretical explanation of his method and was ultimately responsible for establishing classical painting as an important ingredient of 17th century French art.

Oil on canvas, cm x cm, Louvre, Paris. Solid geometric structures Measured light Poussin did not intend this scene to represent a particular place and time. It was the French artists construction of an idea of a noble landscape The Phocion landscape is nature subordinated to a rational plan. Jean-Baptiste Colbert strove to organize art and architecture in the service of the state.

They understood well the power of art as propaganda and the value of visual imagery for cultivating a public persona, and they spared no pains to raise great symbols and monuments to the kings absolute power. Louis and Colbert sought to regularize taste and establish the classical style as the preferred French manner. The founding of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in served to advance this goal.

London: BBC. The classic discipline which the taste of Versailles applied to all the arts can be represented as one of the summits of European civilization le grand siecle. It produced a great and noble painter, Nicolas Poussin It isnt only that Poussin was a learned artist who had studied and assimilated the poses of antique sculpture and the pictorial inventions of Raphael; it was that he brought to the profession of picture-making a mind stored with ancient literature and formed by stoic philosophy.

French Classicism also produced magnificent architecture it expresses an ideal grandeur achieved through the authoritarian state [For example the faade of the Louvre] reflects the triumph of an authoritarian state, and of those logical solutions that Colbert, the greatest administrator of the seventeenth century, was imposing on politics, economics and every department of contemporary life, including, above all, the arts. This gives French Classical architecture a certain inhumanity. It was the work not of craftsmen, but of wonderfully gifted civil servants French Classicism was eminently not exportable.

Landscape Into Art. Publisher info. On Poussin: p.

They show the intimate connection, in ideal landscape, between form and content, for the stem Plutarchian fable has produced the most rigorous of all Poussin's compositions [Pi. They are intended to symbolise the dangerous fickleness of the mob, which had condemned to death a great leader simply because he had not courted their favours and had the irritating faculty of being right; and Poussin conceived that the setting of this story must be of the utmost austerity. No beauties of light or charming distances, but a full closely knit design, presented with uncompromising frontality.

The firmness of these great masses and the certainty with which the eye is led back into the distance until it is arrested by the Euchdian finality of the Temple, combine to give an impression of irresistible logic. Gardens in History: A Political Perspective.

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Oxford: Windgather Press. Louis took power back into the hands of the monarchy in , following a period where powerful commoners, as First Ministers, had run the state. This coincided almost exactly with his construction of the gardens at Versailles that Mukerji says was a demonstration not only of French military engineering and style but also Louis control over the land and his people. Louis used the gardens as an indicator of the importance or otherwise! The greatest honour was for the King himself to show you round, although many were with official guides but with directions from the king on the prescribed route.

However if no tour at all was offered, as happened to the delegation from Moscow in Berger and Hedin , 71 this was seen as a snub. In addition to the diplomatic tours, it is the use of the garden as a place of symbolism and spectacle that is also important. As Mukerji , 2 points out: Versailles was a model of material domination of nature that fairly shouted its excessive claims about the strength of France [and was] testimony to the greatness of the monarch who built [it] p.

The long civil wars of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries had weakened the latters position as successive kings mistrusted them and their motives. With the ministers and officials in control of state policy, it was they who became powerful and rich through sales of hereditary offices and the collection of taxes p. Versailles, then under construction, occasionally welcomed the Court.

The pace of change increased once Louis and the court lived there permanently. As a showcase for the le Roi Soleil The Sun King , the iconographic programme was as important as the overall size and design. This encompassed not only the key architectural features including the statues but also the use of plant material particularly flowers.

The honoured guests to the garden would understand the illusions made. Whereas many parts of interior of the chteau of Versailles were specifically dedicated to the glory of Louis XIV and the French monarchy, there are only ever two images of him9 in the gardens. Instead he was alluded to through mythology and allegory.

Berger , 64 thinks that by doing this, the creators of Versailles simply followed the traditions of Renaissance Baroque residences, in which the park was conceived of as an idyllic, pastoral setting for the eternal Antique presences: the pagan deities, the personified forces of nature, and the personae of ancient mythology. As important as the hard landscaping were the flowers in the gardens of both the secondary palaces of Marly and the Trianon within the wider Versailles estate.

He maintained the most spectacular displays of flowers that early modern Europe had yet seen, and he did so during the years when flowers were at the zenith of their popularity and fashionability in elite circles Hyde , These were mainly not for general view and the most precious flowers were in private areas reserved exclusively for the king and those he chose to invite there. Just as the statues and fountains had symbolic value, so too did these flowers which represented not only the obvious abundance and fertility, but also the nature of his reign as a time of peace and prosperity.

She believes , that to dress the land in [this] French style [gave] it a political identity. This dressing of the countryside was a form of political address, which claimed France to be a natural as well as cultural unit, designed both for political unity and greatness. Olivier de Serres in his book of , Le Theatre dagriculture et mesnages de champs, recommended that by landowners maximising the productive ability of their land, the economic and political well-being of the whole population would benefit.

One way he advocated was the cultivation of mulberry trees for the raising of silkworms for the silk industry. Thus early on, there was a connection between textiles and gardening as the complex designs of the parterres mirrored the woven textiles that were providing a significant part to the growth of French national wealth.

Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency — Volume 12

By the time the parterres were being installed at Versailles, they had taken on a greater role. Using large collections of imported bulbs and other rare flowering plants, they showed not only superior that is French taste and the latest trends in design but also French strength in international trade and horticultural practice Mukerji , France and by implication Louis as absolute ruler was pre-eminent and the gardens were re-enforcing this point.

Louis XIV started work on the gardens, despite the opposition of Colbert, his Finance Minister, who thought that he should concentrate on the existing royal residences. Louis though wanted Versailles as it had resonance as a purely Bourbon creation As Mukerji , 2 points out: the gardens [of Versailles] were not just marvels to transfix the viewer; they were laboratories for and demonstrations of French capacities to use the countryside as a political resource for power. Representing France itself and by implication, Louis as absolute monarch , the gardens at Versailles therefore had to keep changing to show that France was still the pre-eminent nation.

Built between and , the fountain depicts a tale from Ovids Metamorphoses. Latona and her children, Apollo and Diana, are not allowed to drink from a pond belonging to some Lycian peasants and further indignity is heaped on the gods as mud is thrown at them. An appeal to Zeus results in the Lycians being turned into frogs. This mythological episode was chosen as a deliberate reference to the civil war known as the Fronde, in the first part of Louis reign. The word fronde means slingshot, as this was the favoured weapon of the rebels, who were therefore being compared to the mud-slinging Lycians in the statue.

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The Dragon Fountain, finished in , also referred to Louis triumph over the rebellious Frondes Thompson , It represents the Python, a large snake killed by Apollo. Landscape and memory. New York: Vintage Books. admin