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French Emperor Louis XV
1710-1774
Carle André Van Loo
Oil on Canvas

French Emperor Louis XV

The oldest works of art in the Rashtrapati Bhavan collection, the portraits of French Emperor Louis XV and his wife Marie Leszczynska passed into the hands of the East India Company as spoils of war following the capture of Chandernagore in 1757.

The paintings are by Carlo Van Loo of Flemish origin who was the Court Painter to Louis XV. The Composition is set against a Flemish background and imparts prominence to the figural form of Louis XV in an imposing posture. Represented in his blue velvet mantle fused with gold and other coronation robes, the authoritative stance is elucidated through his one hand resting on lower back and the other placed strategically on his headgear. Folds of the royal attire blend with billowing fall of drapery while his sword hangs towards the left. Royal presence in hues of red, blue and gold define the essence of this painting. Extensive use of gold imbues richness to embroideries on velvet. His long grey hair renders contrast to soft contours of skin. The King’s gaze is directed towards the onlooker, inviting attention to his round face and large eyes.

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