Versailles: Château de Versailles – Salon de Diane – buste de Louis XIV

Versailles: Château de Versailles – Salon de Diane – buste de Louis XIV
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This marble bust of Louis XIV, situated in Salon de Diane, was executed in 1665 by Gianlorenzo Bernini when the Roman was calld to rebuild the Louvre–a project that was never undertaken. It is one of the few portraits for which Louis XIV agreed to pose and it shows the 27-year-old man as young, handsome, and majestic. The monarch is depicted at the start of his climb to glory, just a few years after having decided to govern alone, fully exercising what he called "a king’s craft".

The Salon de Diane (Diane Drawing Room) was used by Louis XIV as a billiard room. Louis XIV was a master at pool, and the table stood in the center of the room covered with crimson velvet carpet fringed in gold. The bleachers, where women sat to watch, were covered with Persian carpets embroidered in gold and silver.

Louis XIV (baptised as Louis-Dieudonné) (September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715) ruled as King of France and of Navarre.

He acceded to the throne on May 14, 1643, a few months before his fifth birthday, but did not assume actual personal control of the government until the death of his First Minister ("premier ministre"), Jules Cardinal Mazarin, in 1661. Louis would remain on the throne till his death just prior to his seventy-seventh birthday in 1715.

The reign of Louis XIV, known as The Sun King (in French Le Roi Soleil) or as Louis the Great (in French Louis le Grand, or simply Le Grand Monarque, "the Great Monarch"), spanned seventy-two years—the longest reign of any major European monarch. During that period of time he increased the power and influence of France in Europe, fighting three major wars—the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession—and two minor conflicts—the War of Devolution, and the War of the Reunions.

The political and military scene in France during his reign was filled with such illustrious names as Mazarin, Fouquet, Colbert, Michel le Tellier, Le Tellier’s son Louvois, the Great Condé, Turenne, Vauban, Villars and Tourville. Under his reign, France achieved not only political and military pre-eminence, but also cultural dominance with various cultural figures such as Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Le Brun, Rigaud, Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin Mansart, Claude Perrault and Le Nôtre. The cultural achievements accomplished by these figures contributed to the prestige of France, its people, its language and its king.

Louis XIV worked successfully to create a centralized state governed from the capital in order to sweep away the fragmented feudalism which had hitherto persisted in France, thus giving rise to the modern state. As a result of his efforts, which seemed absolutist, Louis XIV became the archetype of such a monarch. The phrase "L’État, c’est moi" ("I am the State") is frequently attributed to him, though this is considered by historians to be a historical inaccuracy and is more likely to have been conceived by political opponents as a way of confirming the stereotypical view of the absolutism he represented. Quite contrary to that apocryphal quote, Louis XIV is actually reported to have said on his death bed: "Je m’en vais, mais l’État demeurera toujours." ("I am going away, but the State will always remain").

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