Rare portrait of a young Louis XV in armour, a workshop version derived from the official portrait by Jean Baptiste Van Loo.
We are here in the presence of a king-commander of armies. In a solemn attitude, the monarch is depicted standing, seen from three-quarters, up to his knees, left hand resting on his hip, right hand leaning on his fleur-de-lis command baton.
His belligerent figure stands out against a background of marked contrasts. The blue sky with residues of cannon smoke sharing the space with a wide red velvet curtain that seems to envelop the sovereign.
Entirely covered in gleaming steel armor adorned in gold, consisting of cuirass, epaulettes, arms of armor and greaves protecting the thighs.
Her waist-hugging white scarf flies in the wind in a complex construction of pleats.
The king wears the blue cord of the Order of the Holy Spirit, whose changing moire echoes the turbulent fabrics.
His helm topped with feathers is placed on a mound covered with velvet cloth.
Our portrait depicts Louis XV as a teenager and is more like a variant of the first full-length official portraits. The staging outside, on a sky background suggesting a battlefield, absence of crown and scepter, but the presence in the foreground of the baton of command transmit the warrior image and military power of the adolescent king.
Workshop of Jean Baptiste Van Loo (1684-1745)
Oil on canvas, dimensions: h. 128, l. 95cm
A Louis XV style richly carved giltwood frame, 19th century
Framed: h.161 cm, l. 128 cm
Our work is a studio variant of Jean Baptiste Van Loo, executed around 1730, inspired by the equestrian portrait of Louis XV of 1723.
It was at the end of 1723 that Jean Baptiste Van Loo intervened at the request of Charles Parrocel in the execution of the face of Louis XV, which the latter represented on horseback. Thanks to the success of this equestrian portrait (inv. MV3749), the portrait painter Jean Baptiste Van Loo was entrusted by the Regent with two large full-length portraits of the young king in ceremonial costume and armor (Château de Versailles, inv. MV6942) and (Louvre Museum, TR77-GMTB430).
At the same time, from 1723, the workshop of Jean Baptiste Van Loo provided the first replicas, which inspired the copyists of the cabinet of the Superintendency of Versailles. Faced with the need to quickly distribute the new effigy of the king, the Buildings Administration retained the type of Louis XV in full length, dressed in the armor and military dress that it distributed throughout Europe. Of this portrait it will be said that it “adorns many cabinets in Europe and shows in a thousand places the object of the tenderness of the French”.
Around 1729 Van Loo executed new variants of the portrait taking into account the age of the king and his maturity and the birth of the Dauphin, positioning him as the father of a family.