Louis XIV et ses ennemis : image, propagande et contestation

Louis XIV et ses ennemis : image, propagande et contestation, Hendrik Ziegler. Translation of Der Sonnenkönig und Seine Feinde : die Bildpropaganda Ludwigs XIV. in der Kritik by Aude Virey-Wallon. Joint publication Presses universitaires de Vincennes / Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, December 2013, 410 p., 22.5 × 27.5 cm, 151 black and white illustrations, €35 (ISBN: 978-2-84292-368-6).

Louis XIV used art for the purposes of political propaganda, thus provoking, both in France and abroad, vehement and persistent criticism and attacks. This study addresses the methods of self-representation that he brought into play, as well as the nature and scope of his adversaries’ reactions. Louis XIV’s monopolisation of the Sun metaphor, the many statues erected to his glory and the ambitious cycle of paintings in the Palace of Versailles celebrating the sovereign, precipitated a real “battle of images” throughout Europe.
The analysis of significant examples reveals that Louis XIV was often obliged, during his long reign, to adapt his “iconic strategies” to the changes in political power. This study relies on the use of a vast collection of iconographic and textual sources, mainly of unpublished reports produced by foreign diplomats. Through these documents, it appears that these artistic works were not only perceived as legitimate instruments for glorifying princes, but above all as efficient means of imposing specific political and military objectives.

Hendrik Ziegler is Professor of the History of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne. Specialising in cultural exchanges between France, Germany and the countries of Europe from the 17th to 19th centuries, he was awarded the Franco-German Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize in 2012.

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Book Reviews

Read the review published online on Histoire Pour Tous, 09 January 2015 (in French).

Read the review published online on Info-histoire, 16 January 2015 (in French).

Read the Guillaume Doizy’s review published online February 2015 on Caricatures&caricature (in French).

Read the Rémi Mathis’s review published on the review Nouvelles de l’estampe, no 250, 2015, p. 55-59 (in French):

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