By Antonia Fraser

Louis XIV, the highly-feted “Sun King”, used to be well known for his political and cultural impact and for elevating France to a brand new point of prominence in seventeenth-century Europe. And but, as Antonia Fraser keenly describes, he was once both mythical in the family sphere. certainly, a panoply of women—his mom, Anne; mistresses such as Louise de l. a. Vallière, Athénaïs de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon; and an array of courtesans—moved out and in of the court docket. The hugely noticeable presence of those ladies increases many questions on their place in either Louis XIV’s lifestyles and in France at huge. With cautious study and shiny, attractive prose, Fraser makes the multifaceted lifetime of the most well-known eu monarchs available and vibrantly current.

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1665, by way of Charles and Henri Beaubrun. Musée Bernard d'Agesci, Niort. Marie-Thérèse and the Dauphin Louis de France, 1665, through Pierre Mignard. Prado, Madrid (photo: Giraudon/ Bridgeman artwork Library). Anne of Austria, date unknown, by way of Charles Beaubrun. Galleria Sabauda, Turin (photo: Alinari/ Bridgeman artwork Library). Louis XIV at Maastricht, 1673, through Pierre Mignard. Galleria Sabauda, Turin (photo: Scala). Louis XIV backing out along with his Seraglio, 1693, nameless engraving. The Trustees of the British Museum, division of Prints & Drawings. Louise de l. a. Vallière, date unknown, by means of Jean Nocret. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (© photograph RMN/Gérard Blot). Louise de los angeles Vallière as a huntress, 1667, after Claude Lefebvre. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (© photograph RMN/Gérard Blot). Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise de Montespan, date unknown, via Louis Elle Ferdinand II. assortment: writer. Athénaïs reclining in entrance of the gallery of her château at Clagny, date unknown, by way of Henri Gascard. deepest assortment (photo: Giraudon/ Bridgeman artwork Library). Portrait of Athénaïs, date unknown, attributed to Pierre Mignard. Musée du Berry, Bourges (photo: Giraudon/ Bridgeman artwork Library). The Appartement des Bains at Versailles depicted on a fan, c. 1680. Victoria & Albert Musuem, London (photo. © V & A Images). Spottallegorie auf Ludwig XIV, c. 1670, by way of Joseph Werner (photo: courtesy of Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft, Zürich). Marie-Angélique d'Escorailles de Rousille, Duchesse de Fontanges, 1687, engraving by way of Nicolas de Larmessin III. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (© photograph RMN/Gérard Blot). Madame de Maintenon, date and artist unknown. Château de Chambord (photo: The artwork Archive/Dagli Orti). Madame de Maintenon with the Duc du Maine and the Comte de Vexin, date and artist unknown. Château de Maintenon (photo: The paintings Archive/Dagli Orti). Frontispiece to Scarron aparu à Madame de Maintenon et les reproches qu'il lui fait sur ses amours avec Louis le Grand, 1664, via Paul Scarron (courtesy of The British Library). Madame de Maintenon along with her niece Françoise-Charlotte, c. 1688, by way of Louis Elle Ferdinand II. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (© picture RMN/Gérard Blot). The ‘Secret Notebooks' of Madame de Maintenon. Bibliothèque municipale de Versailles. Madame de Maintenon as St Frances of Rome, c. 1694, via Pierre Mignard. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (photo: Giraudon/ Bridgeman paintings Library). King David enjoying the Harp, c. 1619-20, by way of Domenicho Zampieri. Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (© photograph RMN/Daniel Arnaudet). Miniature portrait of Madame de Maintenon, c. 1694, via Jean Boinard. deepest assortment. Visite de Louis XIV à Saint-Cyr en 1704, engraving by means of Lalaisse after F. Lemud. information départementales des Yvelines, Montigny-le-Bretonneux (fonds ancien de los angeles Bibliothèque). The Château of Maintenon; view during the Aquaduct, mid-eighteenth century, by way of François Edme Ricois. Château de Maintenon (photo: The artwork Archive/Dagli Orti). residences of Madame de Maintenon.

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