Supplemental Images

Marcus Aurelius 

Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, 164-166 CE

 This sculpture came to represent the glory and power of Rome. Western Europeans sought to use this image to legitimize their own rule. For example, Louis XIV had many statues commissioned presenting him on a horse. Not all of the equine representations were statues; many rulers utilized paintings as propaganda for their subjects. For example, Charles I of England had several equestrian paintings commissioned.

Although this painting was completed in the same year as the "Rainbow Portrait," the image of Elizabeth I is radically different. Towards the end of her reign, Elizabeth I was extremely reluctant to sit for a portrait because she did not want her subjects to see the manifestation of her age. With this image, why might Elizabeth not want her subjects to see her in such a state? Was she worried about the social and political stability? The image of the monarch? Or was it something else?

Queen Elizabeth I 

Artist unknown, ca. 1600, City Museum, Plymouth 

Rembrandt van Rijn 

 Self-Portrait, Leaning on a Sill, Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1640, National Gallery, London

Rembrandt's painting style reflected the style of several of the English and French monarchical portraits in the early seventeenth century, including Henri IV of France and James I of England.

Here is an example of an equestrian portrait of Charles I. Compare this painting to the statue of Marcus Aurelius. Is the portrait of Charles I effective? Probably not as much as he would have liked, as he was executed. 

Charles I 

 Charles I on Horseback, Anthony van Dyck, ca. 1638, National Gallery, London

The Beheading of Charles I 

A wood cut of the execution of Charles I. After years of the divine right to rule, this idea came crashing down around the monarchy as the people (and Parliament) exerted their influence and dethroned the king. How could this image of the king, God's chosen ruler on earth, disprove the idea of divine rule? How might this image affected the Royalists? The budding "Republicans"? 

 The image to the right is of Louis XIV performing in a ballet at court. Already he had chosen Apollo, Greek god of the Sun, as his symbol.

King Louis XIV 

Louis XIV in Lully's Ballet de la nuit, 1653 

King Louis XIV 

 Here is one example of the many equestrian statues of Louis XIV. How does this compare to Marcus Aurelius and Charles I?

This cartoon depicts Louis XIV as an insubstantial person under accoutrements of power. How does this drawing undermine the image of the Sun King? Do the clothes define the man? 

Political Cartoon of Louis XIV 

Sun King Motif 

Throughout Versailles and any Louis XIV-era building, the sun motif, along with Apollo (often represented by Louis XIV himself) can be seen, a constant reminder of the absolute rule in France. 

George IV of England was extremely unpopular, known for his lasciviousness, bawdiness, gluttony, and incompetence. George IV alienated supporters due the mistreatment of his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, who was immensely popular with their British subjects. This cartoon exaggerates the excesses of George IV, casting him in an extremely unfavorable light. How does this image of the king, wallowing in his vices, speak to the public? How might the public react to seeing their monarch act like a spoiled commoner?

King George IV 

Caricature of King George IV of England  by James Gillray

Royal Pavilion, England 

Marine (Royal) Pavilion, John Nash, 1815-1823, Brighton, England 

John Nash participated in the flowering of British culture during the Regency. Drawing upon Eastern traditions, Nash revitalized British architecture. 

The symbol of the French royal family. 


Rococo Styling in the Palace of Versailles 

A stylistic period defined by effervescence, pastel colors, feathers, ornamentation, and decadence. Rococo was the favored style of the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette of France.

A political cartoon of the French royal family aiming to ridicule the monarchy's obliviousness to the starving public. In the years leading up to the French Revolution, images such as this grew widespread in their circulation throughout France.

Political cartoon of the Royal Family 

Marie Antoinette 

 This drawing depicts the extremity of French fashion, thereby the environment in which the French rebelled against the decadence of the court. The drawing illustrates Marie Antoinette as the leader of protean French fashion.

 In contrast to the above drawing of Marie Antoinette, the drawing to the right depicts Marie Antoinette as she approaches her demise. Note the lack of detail and the simplicity of the depiction. This drawing serves as a testament to how far she had fallen. Compare the drawing to Marie Antoinette's royal portrait painted in 1775.

"Widow Capet"

The Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, in Paris 

Prise de la Bastille, Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houly 

 The storming of the Bastille prison served as the catalyst to the French Revolution. The people of the Third Estate, disgruntled and starving due to the lack of response from the monarchy, captured one of the symbols of the monarchy's arbitrary power: the Bastille. Shortly thereafter, the royal family was imprisoned by the Revolutionaries and subsequently executed.

The drawing to the right details the execution of King Louis XVI of France. Notice the large slab of rock in the background. Most likely it held a statue of a royal figure before being dismantled by the Revolutionaries. Compare this to the woodcut of the execution of Charles I of England. How might the feelings behind the two be different? How were the reactions of the English and French different in regard to the beheading of their monarchs? Does the very "publicness" of the execution say more to the feelings of the French than the actual beheading of the king?

Execution of King Louis XVI in January 1793

Execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October 1793 

 Like her husband, Marie Antoinette was publicly beheaded. Stripped of her finery, Marie Antoinette was led to the guillotine, finally an equal to the people. How might the feelings of the French people be different for her as opposed to her husband?

To the right is another portrait of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. How does this portrait exude Napoleon's right to rule? Is Napoleon effective in drawing on the imagery of the Roman Empire?

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte 

François Gerard, c. 1804 

1830 French Revolution 

 Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix, ca. 1830, Musée du Louvre

 How is the image of liberty more effective than that of the monarchy? The personification of Liberty is fighting alongside the people, giving the people's revolution legitimacy. Also, consider that not one of the royal portraits shows the monarch amongst the people. This revolution deposed Charles X of France and replaced the monarchy with a Republic.

The images used for the banners on each page are as follows:

  • Seventeenth Century England: Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
  • Seventeenth Century France: The Louvre, Paris
  • Eighteenth Century England: St. Peter's, London
  • Eighteenth Century France: The Pantheon
  • Nineteenth Century England: Buckingham Palace, London
  • Nineteenth Century France: Arc du Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Paris
  • Additional Images: Motif of the Sun King/Apollo, Versailles
  • Bibliography: Houses of Parliament, London, England
  • Homepage: King Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud

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