M10018 | Louis Le Grand

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Louis Le Grand
About 1701, 18th century
67 x 49.9 cm
Gift of the Estate of Miss Anne McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Print (10661)
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Keys to History


Louis XIV (1638-1715), known as the Sun King, ruled France and her colonies for 72 years. Diplomacy as practiced by 18th-century Europeans was shaped by social and political traditions vastly different from those of the Aboriginal nations they first encountered. To begin with, French officials, unlike Aboriginal diplomats, saw themselves as rulers. They equated leadership with political power, and power with coercion. Confident in the superiority of their culture and their religion, they set out to conquer and "convert", sending soldiers to overpower Aboriginal people and missionaries to instruct them.

King Louis XIV oversaw the manner in which he was depicted with considerable care, taking the sun as his emblem and identifying his power and influence with his radiant qualities. In the paintings, woodcuts and engravings produced by Paris workshops, Louis often insisted on being portrayed as Apollo, the Greek sun god. The grandeur of the King and his status as absolute monarch was the theme of many sermons, poems and plays.

  • What

    This is a portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715), known as the Sun King, the ruler of France and her colonies. The engraving, by Pierre Drevet, is based on a famous oil painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud, the official court painter.

  • Where

    King Louis XIV ruled France and her colonies including New France. He spent much of his time at Versailles, just outside Paris. The king's representative in New France was the Governor and Lieutenant General.

  • When

    This image depicts the King of France in about 1701. This is the date when the Great Peace of Montreal was negotiated among the French, the Iroquois and close to 40 other Aboriginal nations, bringing peace to the vast territory extending from Acadia in the east to the Mississippi in the west, and from James Bay in the north to the Missouri river in the south.

  • Who

    Louis XIV (1638-1715) ruled France and her colonies for 72 years. This portrait portrays the Sun King in a regal pose, wearing a sumptuous robe lined in ermine and embroidered with fleur-de-lis.