Philip Mansel

State of the Arts

The Sovereign Artist: Charles Le Brun and the Image of Louis XIV


Paul Holberton 287pp £40 order from our bookshop

The Palace of Versailles was built by Louis XIV to satisfy his love of hunting and country life, his taste for grandeur and his aversion to Paris. It was not just a royal palace, however. It was also a temple of the arts, intended – through the beauty of its gardens, sculptures, architecture and collections (some of the Italian pictures now in the Louvre could then be seen by the public in Versailles) – to act as a royal showcase for France and French artists. Versailles was intended to surpass ancient and modern Rome, to entice the growing number of Europeans making the grand tour to visit France as well as Italy, and, of course, to dazzle foreign princes and ambassadors.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • One woman 'travelled round the south of India with a retinue of 750 people, fourteen elephants, two racing camels f… ,
    • Stuck for a gift idea for Father's Day? Subscribe to Literary Review and get a FREE copy of 'An Impeccable Spy' –… ,
    • 'Gone. All gone. The ease, the pleasure, the effortless eloquence' From May 1995, Margaret Forster's withering rev… ,
    • RT : SO excited to tell you about this event! 😆 The amazing digital colourist, will be joining w… ,
    • 'Peters was unashamed and evidently unshamable, an impostor who wholly inhabited his fabrications and who indignant… ,
    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,