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Louis XIV and his brother / painting
Louis XIV, King of France (1643–1715). 1638–1715.

Double portrait of Louis XIV with his brother Philippe, Duke d’Orléans (1640–1701), as children.

Painting, undated,...
Louis XIV cou– ronné par la Victoire
Louis XIV
Je suis le Roi Soleil
King Louis XIV proclaims the Duke of Anjou King of Spain
Grand Carrousel
Louis XIV et la famille royale
Louis XIV Receives Frederick Augustus of Saxony in Fontainebleau
Louis XIV Meets Philippe IV of Spain
Colbert présente les membres de l’Académie royale des scien
Molière at the table of Louis XIV
Louis XIV and his Wife Marie-Thérèse Entering Arras on 30th July 1667
Molière at table of Louis XIV
The Marquis of Dangeau Pledging his Oath to King Louis XIV
Passage du Rhin par l’armée de Louis XIV
The Royal Parade of Louis XIV
Entry of Louis XIV and his wife Marie-Thérèse at Arras on 2
The Grand Carousel Given by Louis XIV in the Courtyard of the Tuileries
Vue du château de Versailles en 1668
View of Versailles
Mme. de Montespan and her Children
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Louis XIV of France
This month marks the 300th anniversary of the death of French king Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King.

Louis XIV’s rule of France lasted for 72 years, 3 months and 18 days, making his reign longer than that of any other known European sovereign in history. During his many decades as king, Louis XIV transformed the French monarchy by successfully increasing the authority of crown over church and aristocracy, and augmenting the power of France on the world stage. Culturally, Louis XVI ushered in a new golden age of literature and art, supporting many writers and artists with his patronage. The spectacular Palace of Versailles, to which he had relocated his government in 1682, served as a dazzling back-drop for state affairs.

Over his lifetime, Louis XIV is said to have commissioned numerous artworks to portray himself, among them over 300 formal portraits. In most, the monarch is depicted in a very idealised style, avoiding any visual references to the smallpox scars he carried on his face since childhood. His personal life saw two marriages - a formal one to Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV of Spain, in 1660 and a secret one to Madame de Maintenon in the 1680s – as well as a string of mistresses and children from various affairs.

On his deathbed, Louis XIV is meant to have said: “Je m’en vais, mais l’État demeurera toujours” (“I depart, but the State shall always remain”). In this spirit, we examine the legacy created by one of Europe’s greatest monarchs with this series of pictures from the akg-images archive.