The entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras

The entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras


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  • Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667.

    VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

  • Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667 (detail).

    VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

To close

Title: Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667.

Author : VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

Creation date : 1684

Date shown: July 30, 1667

Dimensions: Height 232 - Width 331

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Picture reference: 97-018544 / MV 6057

Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / Gérard Blot

To close

Title: Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667 (detail).

Author : VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

Creation date : 1684

Date shown: July 30, 1667

Dimensions: Height 232 - Width 331

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Picture reference: 97-018557 / MV 6057

Solemn entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667 (detail).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Palace of Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Publication date: September 2013

Professor at Paris VIII University

Historical context

"The king enjoys taking Flanders" (Mme de Sévigné). After the death of Philippe IV of Spain on September 17, 1665, Louis XIV claimed for Queen Marie-Thérèse, his wife and eldest daughter of the deceased, towns and territories located to the north and east of the kingdom under the “right of devolution”: unearthed by French jurists, this Brabant custom gives the children of the first bed exclusive ownership of paternal property, to the detriment of the children of the second bed. As such, he claims Brabant, Haute-Gueldre, Luxembourg, Mons, Antwerp, Cambrai, Malines, Limbourg, Namur and Franche-Comté.

This short war, known as the Devolution (1667-1668), ended with the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle which made it possible to consolidate the northeastern border, in particular thanks to the capture of twelve strongholds, including Lille and Douai. This is how Adam-François Van der Meulen (1632-1690) painted for the royal residence of Marly, probably in 1684, this Entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras, July 30, 1667.

Image Analysis

The event takes place on July 30, 1667. Marie-Thérèse, in her coach - it is in her name that the war is being waged -, is accompanied by the ladies of her suite, and the king, accompanied by Monsieur, comes immediately after the queen's carriage. Louis XIV is followed, like the other entrances, by the marshals of France and the officers of his House who distinguished themselves during this military campaign, like Turenne.

The painter draws his inspiration here from the tradition of Flemish painting for the city entrance scenes. He takes enough distance to showcase the procession in all its magnitude. In the foreground appears the queen's carriage, pulled by six white horses. The king follows the vehicle, mounted on a white horse in order to draw attention to it and be clearly visible to all. Onlookers watch the procession go by: some kneel in the passage of the king, others point to the carriage, while a curious person has climbed a tree to better observe the scene. So many characters who seem to be caught on the spot.

The campaign is unfolding as far as the eye can see. The long procession of troops and cars stretches from the foreground to the gates of the city looming on the horizon, preceded by lines of fortifications and defensive bastions.

Interpretation

Painter of Brussels origin trained by the Flemish "battalists", Adam-François Van der Meulen (1632-1690) began his career in the Spanish Netherlands, at the court of Brussels. He was noticed by Charles Le Brun, who brought him to Paris in the early 1660s. Battle painting became one of his specialties, and his name remains attached to the chronicle of the reign of Louis XIV today. The painter indeed contributes, through his numerous paintings, to "making" the image of Louis XIV: tapestry cartons for the Gobelins factory (The King's Story, the Month where the Royal houses) to the decoration of Marly via the Palace of Versailles, he participated in the staging of a sovereignty of glory and war centered on the actions of the Sun King.

Van der Meulen accompanied the sovereign during several military campaigns, notably in 1667 and 1677. His paintings mix elements specific to the Flemish pictorial tradition, so sensitive to the play of light and the colored harmonies which fix the fleeting moment, with a high topographical precision, enabled by a rigorous observation of the landscapes.

"That's it, I find myself again," Louis XIV would have said in front of his paintings, which featured him in a large landscape of hitherto unseen realism.

  • absolute monarchy
  • Louis XIV
  • Nord Pas de Calais
  • army
  • realism
  • Great Century

Bibliography

Isabelle RICHEFORT, Adam-François Van der Meulen. Flemish painter in the service of Louis XIV, Rennes, Rennes University Press, coll. "Art and society", 2004.

Joël CORNETTE, The King of War. Essay on Sovereignty in Grand Siècle France, Paris, Payot & Rivages, coll. “Small Payot library”, 2010 (3rd ed.).

To cite this article

Joël CORNETTE, "The Entry of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse into Arras"


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