RIGAUD, Hyacinthe
(b. 1659, Perpignan, d. 1743, Paris)

Portrait of Louis XIV

Oil on canvas, 277 x 194 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

At the end of Louis XIV's reign the outstanding painter was Hyacinthe Rigaud. Although his activity continued well into the next century, the ethical quality of his figures and the aesthetic quality of his style are part of the spirit of the Louis XIV period.

Guided by Le Brun, Rigaud created in painting, as Coysevox had done in sculpture, the portrait of the 'man of quality', whose value he conveyed by the nobility of the attitude, expressiveness of the gesture, and movement of the draperies - in short, by the passion of which he showed his generous temperament to be capable. The aim was less to depict and individual and a character, as Philippe de Champaigne had done in the preceding period, than to affirm the social rank and 'condition' of the sitter, who might be the King, a minister, a financier, or a soldier, but who was always of the Court. Rigaud thus started the Court portrait, which was to have a considerable importance in Europe during the next century.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 3 minutes):
Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Marche en Rondeau