The King of France is around 7 years old there and Philippe of France is 5 years old.
Around the age of 7, Louis XIV officially went “to men” and consequently wore boy clothes following the male fashion of the time, while Philippe was dressed in a dress, an infant garment regardless of gender.
The future King of France is portrayed thus standing, turned three-quarters, dressed in a jacket of brocaded silk, puffed sleeves with punctures, a collar with a flap of white lace, a blouse, a floating hunting top which goes down above knees embellished with lace, silk stockings and boot bottoms adorned with lace. He is shod in gray funnel boots with red heels, to which are attached gold spurs.
Over his right arm, his scarlet cape embroidered with gold thread and lined with brocaded silk. He is holding his black felt hat, adorned with a red bow and a large ostrich feather. He wears a blue sash and the cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit over his shoulder.
The gaze with a solemn expression contrasts with her toddler face with full cheeks and a fresh tint, framed by curly blond hair.
Philippe on the right, is dressed in a silk dress with an apron richly decorated with lace. He also wears the blue ribbon and the cross of the Order of Saint Esprit. He wears, according to children's fashion, a cap adorned with an ostrich feather. Her face is framed by her dark brown curls.
Louis plunges his hand into Philippe's raised apron filled with flowers. This posture of two brothers as well as the gesture full of affection, testifies to the closeness of two children that the painter wanted to convey through the official portrait of the heirs to the crown.
The symbols of the monarchy: the crown and the scepter are placed on the ground to the left of Louis, signifying that he has not yet reached the age to be crowned.
Their two figures stand out against the background of a large blue velvet curtain fringed with gold, the skilfully constructed folds of which expose the shimmering reflections of the fabric.
The raised curtain exposes the distant horizon.
17th century French School, circa 1645, attributed to Charles and Henri Beaubrun.
Oil on canvas, dimensions: h. 122 cm, w. 90cm
Important 17th century carved and giltwood frame
Framed dimensions: h. 153 cm, w. 123cm
This rare portrait is part of a series of works illustrating the childhood of the two princes, mainly commissioned by Anne of Austria, the mother and regent, after the death of Louis XIII. Expressing her fierce desire to preserve her son's crown, she uses visual communication as a channel of sovereign expression. The portraits serve to strengthen the royal power weakened by the minority of the young Louis XIV
Promoting the image of Louis XIV, even as a child, by distributing his portraits helps to consolidate the durability of the monarchy and guarantee dynastic permanence. The presence of a second son, Philippe d'Anjou, further reinforces the solidity of the royal blood and must reassure the spectators of the painting: the existence of a second heir to the throne counterbalances the fragility of a monarchy whose future does not only holds for a child barely 7 years old. We are thus in the presence of an affirmation of continuity, stability and dynastic legitimacy.
- A similar version of our portrait, Sotheby's, London, 31 October 1990, lot 158 (dimensions 134 x 98)
- Anne of Austria and her children, Palace of Versailles (MV 3369)
- Louis XIV and Philippe d'Orléans, circa 1642, Charles Beaubrun, Museo Sa Bassa Blanca, Majorca, Spain
- Anne of Austria and her sons, Charles Beaubrun, around 1646, National Museum of Stockholm
Charles Beaubrun (1604-1692), Henri Beaubrun (1603-1677)
Charles and Henri Beaubrun, inseparable in their lives, are also in the history of French painting. Charles's father, Mathieu de Beaubrun, page of Cardinal de Joyeuse, was sent to Rome to complete his education as an artist, the talent he passed on to his son. As for Henri, his father, also named Henri, was valet to the king's wardrobe, which earned the son a position as harquebus holder, Louis XIII, recognizing young Henri's passion for painting, took an interest in his education. Henri, gaining popularity as a court painter, associated his cousin Charles with new commissions from courtiers, and so they began to work together on the same works, so that it is difficult to distinguish the hand of each painter. The cousins ??then collaborated between 1630 and 1675, painted many official portraits and specialized in royal portraits, being appointed official painters of the Court during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. In the middle of the century, they enjoyed great success with the ladies of the court and produced several series of female portraits of the great nobility.
In 1648, they participated in the foundation of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.