Hyacinthe Rigaud

18 July 2011

Today marks the birthday of Hyacinthe Rigaud, who was born on the 18th of July 1659 in Perpignan. During his lifetime, he was a celebrity, the favourite portrait painter of Louis XIV and famous for his over the top, dramatic paintings of the plump, pampered, gorgeously dressed courtiers of the royal court.

Even his name is flamboyant, as evocative of heady perfumes, rich silks and fabulously bouffant wigs as his paintings. You can see why Louis XIV loved him so much – his works are the epitome of Baroque portraiture and a perfect fit with the over the top, gilt and crystal encrusted splendour of Versailles.

Perhaps his most famous work is this 1701 portrait of the sixty three year old Louis XIV in all his majesty and pomp. This painting was intended to be a gift for his grandson, Philip V of Spain but Louis liked it so much that he couldn’t bear to part with it and so it remained at Versailles.

Triumphant portraits of Louis’ great grandson and successor, Louis XV.

Marie-Anne de Vallières, Madame de la Ravoye.

An unknown lady.

The Marquise de Louville.

The Comtesse de Parabère.

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