Comparative essay between the social significances of Louis xiv and Louis xvi
Submitted by: - Avaljot Kaur Randhawa
Submitted to: -Ms. Finn
Course code: -CHY 4U7
Due date: -6th Oct, 2014
Louis xiv and Louis xvi were the two rulers of France. Louis XIV (1638-1715) exemplified the characteristics of absolute monarchy during his 72-year reign. He created the most centralized nation state in Europe and gave birth to a new sense of French nationhood. The monarchy as the personification of the state is epitomized in the palace and gardens of Versailles. He was one of the best rulers of France. But Louis XVI was not as great as his great grandfather. Louis XVI, also called (until 1774) Louis-Auguste, duc de Berry (born Aug. 23, 1754, Versailles, France—died Jan. 21, 1793, Paris), the last king of France (1774–92) in the line of Bourbon monarchs preceding the French Revolution of 1789. The monarchy was abolished on Sept. 21, 1792; later Louis and his queen consort, Marie-Antoinette, were guillotined on charges of counterrevolution. After 1789 Louis XVI’s incapacity to rule, his irresolution, and his surrender to reactionary influences at court were partially responsible for the failure to establish in France the forms of a limited constitutional monarchy. He allowed himself to be persuaded that royal dignity required him to avoid communication with the deputies assembled at Versailles, and he made no attempt to lay out a program that might have attracted their support. At critical moments, he was distracted by the illness and death of his eldest son, the dauphin (June 4, 1789)
Interest in arts: -Louis xiv was very interested in arts. He was the protector of writers, notably Molière and Jean Racine, whom he ordered to sing his praises, and he imposed his own visions of beauty and nature on artists. France’s appearance and way of life were changed; the great towns underwent a metamorphosis, the landscape was altered, and monuments arose everywhere. The King energetically devoted himself to building new residences. All the power of the government was brought to bear in the construction of Versailles. French sculpture reached a new zenith at this time, after the mediocrity of the first half of the century. François Girardon was a favourite of the King and did several portrait sculptures of him, as well as the tomb of the cardinal de Richelieu, the greatest artist in the history of European landscape architecture, worked with the King, designing vistas, fountains, and many other outdoor arrangements. Louis XIV loved water and fountains. Water gardens embroider the grounds, and fountains further embellish the garden pools. From the start, Versailles was conceived as a showcase of French arts and craftsmanship – especially those from the royal workshops of the Paris Globelins manufacturing. French style in architecture came to dominate European culture.
Louis xvi also showed an interest in arts and architecture. The predominant style in architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts was Neoclassicism, a style that had come into its own during the last years of Louis XV’s life, Jacques-Louis David was the most important painter of the reign of Louis XVI; his severe compositions recalling the style of the earlier painter Nicolas Poussin are documents extolling republican virtues. The foremost sculptor of the reign of Louis XVI was Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828). He portrayed a number of the most prominent men of his day, often in classical togas. The lavish court style of Louis and Marie Antoinette, his young queen, gave impetus to the highly skilled ébénistes, or cabinetmakers, of the period. Whereas the general style of furniturewas again neoclassic (i.e., straight, simple lines and classical motifs), the workmanship was as complicated and as finely performed as in any period to date. Jean-Henri...
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