The crossing of the Rhine by Louis XIV

The crossing of the Rhine by Louis XIV


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

  • Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672.

    VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

  • Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672 [the characters].

    VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

To close

Title: Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672.

Author : VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

Date shown: June 12, 1672

Dimensions: Height 49 - Width 110

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Jean-Gilles Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 08-551312 / INV1490

Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

To close

Title: Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672 [the characters].

Author : VAN DER MEULEN Adam-François (1632 - 1690)

Date shown: June 12, 1672

Dimensions: Height 49 - Width 110

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Jean-Gilles Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 08-551312 / INV1490

Le Passage du Rhin, June 12, 1672 [the characters].

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Publication date: December 2013

University of Evry-Val d'Essonne

Historical context

France's lightning offensive

On April 6, 1672, Louis XIV declared war on the United Provinces (Northern Netherlands) in order to lower the outrageous economic and commercial power of the small Protestant republic. On June 12, 1672, the cavalry reached an arm of the Rhine near Schenk, opposite the village of Tolhuys, the “toll house”. The troops of Prince William of Orange (1650-1702) offered little resistance to the 20,000 French soldiers who crossed the river easily.

This feat of arms-length becomes the subject of a vast artistic production which mobilizes all the arts (painting, sculpture, literature) as well as numismatics. In The Century of Louis XIV, Voltaire (1694-1778) describes "a dazzling and unique action, celebrated then as one of the great events which should occupy the memory of men".

The painting by Adam-François Van der Meulen, a Flemish painter who served in France, is a model of its kind in the staging of a military event for propaganda purposes. In 1664, he went into the service of the king and collaborated with Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), the king's first painter. The work adorns the cabinet dedicated to the actions of Louis XIV within the Château de Choisy.

Image Analysis

The triumph of the warchief

The composition of the painting is based on several preparatory studies and sketches, such as the project of an allegorical tapestry based on a three-part iconographic program presented by the artist: "I sketched the Rhine crossing, in three pieces; the first is the march of the cavalry, the middle the King who commands, and the third where we make the bridge of boats. The painting in the Louvre Museum corresponds to the central section of this triptych, the one which attributes the posture of warlord to the sovereign. The painter did not follow the king during the campaign of June 1672, but went there the following September to study the site. If the characters are staged, the topography is respected, in a Flemish style combining a chiaroscuro sky with vegetation made of shades of green. The painter also reveals his virtuosity in the representation of horses.

This small painting describes a large panorama where the reading of the action is guided by a succession of shots. In the right half of the work appears a group of men on horseback who have taken their places on a hill. Among them, the king immediately catches the eye. Her sparkling costume and her white horse with the dappled dress are magnified by the light. Louis XIV turns to the viewer to reinforce the idea of ​​a demonstration in progress. Sword in scabbard, he holds the staff of command which extends his right hand, the hand of action, in order to dramatize the event.

By combining several techniques (various shots, sketches, light effects, gestures), Van der Meulen energizes his painting and gives the impression that the event is taking place live. The royal mount rears up to reflect the beginning of the maneuver, which recalls another painting by the painter, the equestrian portrait of the king in front of Besançon. In the background, the action becomes clearer: military maneuvers and cannonade reinforce the martial atmosphere, as the riders rush towards the river, saber clear. In the background, the Rhine is invaded by a multitude of soldiers surging on a few Dutch horsemen. Rather harmless cannon shots were fired from the tower in the village of Tolhuys.

Interpretation

Glory, Worth and Honor

Van der Meulen's painting models a certain image of the king. It allows many historical parallels with Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar who participate in the birth of the myth and these “strategies of glory” studied by Peter Burke (see bibliography). After the invasion of the United Provinces, the crossing of the Rhine symbolically opens a new diplomatic space. Jean Racine (1639-1699) evokes the effect of this episode on the Dutch: "They flee at full speed, and falling on each other, will carry the news to the depths of Holland that the king had passed. . "

On a preparatory sketch, the painter adds three allegorical figures which symbolize the greatness of the act: Glory, Worth and Honor. Through this historical panorama, Van der Meulen represents the unshakeable stature of the sovereign, actor in a victorious and unstoppable march. He placed Louis XIV (no 1) at the heart of the event, in the immediate vicinity of danger, in order to magnify its courage and power. The king eclipses the other characters: Duke Philippe d´Orléans (1640-1701), his brother (no 2), faces him; the Grand Condé (no 3) plans the maneuver, but is set back behind the ruler. In a blue coat and red trousers, an officer of the French Guards addresses the King who, entirely concerned with the action in progress, barely turns his head.

This historical scene is the object of multiple replicas which swarm across the kingdom, by Van der Meulen himself, his disciples or other painters, such as the paintings by Joseph Parrocel (1646-1704), Jean-Baptiste Martin l 'Elder (1659-1735) or Savior Le Comte (1659-1694). The glory of arms is also celebrated by almanacs, medals or bas-reliefs, as on the Saint-Denis gate, dedicated to "Louis the Great". In reality, this triumphal scene erected as a historical reference masks the military setbacks of the following days. In July, the Dutch opened the dykes, flooded the flat country and stopped the advance of French troops. This painting in fact illustrates an action in half-tone, without glare and without major rupture, but from 1673, it allows Van der Meulen to be received at the Academy of painting and sculpture.

  • army
  • Bourbons
  • Condé
  • Holland
  • Louis XIV
  • Orleans (of)
  • Great Century
  • Racine (Jean)

Bibliography

Lucien BÉLY, International Relations in Europe. 17th-18th centuries, Paris, University Press of France, coll. “Themis. History ”, 1992.

Peter BURKE, Louis XIV. The strategies of glory, Paris, Le Seuil, 1995.

Joël CORNETTE, The King of War. Essay on Sovereignty in Grand Siècle France, Paris, Payot, coll. "Historical Library", 1993.

Hervé DRÉVILLON, The Absolute Kings. 1629-1715, Paris, Belin, coll. “History of France”, 2011.

· Sandra DE VRIES, ““ Le passage du Rhin ”door Adam-Frans van der Meulen”, in Newsletter van het Rijksmuseum, 1993, no 1.

Isabelle RICHEFORT, Adam-François Van der Meulen. Flemish painter in the service of Louis XIV, Rennes, Rennes University Press, coll. "Art and society", 2004.

· Laure STARCKY, "The epic of a crossing", in To the glory of the king: Van der Meulen, painter of the conquests of Louis XIV, catalog of the exhibition of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (9 June-28 September 1998) and the Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg (29 October 1998-17 January 1999), Dijon-Luxembourg, Musée des Beaux -Arts de Dijon-Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg, 1998.

To cite this article

Stéphane BLOND, "The passage of the Rhine by Louis XIV"


Video: The Crossing Of The Rhine River WWII