The Wallace Collection

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Madame de Ventadour with Louis XIV and his Heirs
  • French School
  • Madame de Ventadour with Louis XIV and his Heirs
  • France
  • 1715 - 1720
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 127.6 x 161 cm
  • P122
  • Billiard Room
Further Reading
  • This picture was painted to celebrate the role of the duchesse de Ventadour in ensuring the continuation of the Bourbon dynasty. She is shown leading the duc d’Anjou, the future Louis XV (1710-74), whom she saved during the measles epidemic of 1712. They are surrounded by his forebears: Henri IV (1553-1610) is represented in a bust on the left; Louis XIII (1601-43) in a bust on the right; Louis XIV (1638-1715) sits in the centre of the picture; Louis, the Grand Dauphin (1661-1711), stands leaning against his father’s chair; and on the right stands Louis XIV’s grandson and the duc d’Anjou’s father, Louis, duc de Bourgogne (1682-1712).
    The set in an imaginary palatial setting which evokes Louis XIV's Apollonian imagery. Equally imaginary is the combination of sitters: The portraits of all the members of the Royal family were taken from existing, official portraits. The age of the sitters does not match a precise, possible moment in time. Instead, the portraits are arranged with Ventadour to create an allegory of the Royal lineage that had been in severe danger after the death of the Great Dauphin and the duc de Bourgogne. The young Louis XV was only five when Louis XIV died, leading to the Régence period until 1723.
    The fact that several different models were used for the painting has made its attribution difficult. Given Ventadour's close association with the Royal family, it is likely that it was produced in the so-called Cabinet du Roi, a workshop in Versailles that was producing Royal portraits for political use after established models. Other versions of the painting are known.