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Title: Marriage of Louis XIV and Marie Thérèse of Austria
Author : LAUMOSNIER Jacques (-)
Date shown: June 9, 1660
Dimensions: Height 89.1 cm - Width 130 cm
Storage place: Tessé Museum website
Contact copyright: RMN-Grand Palais / Agence BullozPhotographic agency
Picture reference: 08-519147 / LM10.100
Marriage of Louis XIV and Marie Thérèse of Austria
© RMN-Grand Palais / Agence Bulloz
Publication date: September 2017
University of Evry-Val d'Essonne
A marriage between France and Spain
Born around 1669, Jacques Laumosnier comes from a family of wealthy craftsmen. At the end of the XVIIe century, his patron, Marshal René de Froulay de Tessé ordered two first paintings from him: The Pheasant Island Interview (June 6, 1660) and The marriage of Louis XIV with the Infanta of Spain (June 9, 1660).
This painting is a reduced copy of a card drawn by Henri testelin for a hanging entitled The King's Story. This series, commissioned by the king, was produced in the Gobelins factory, under the authority of the painters of King Le Brun and Van der Meulen. Just like the table of the interview, this representation of marriage is available in several media, such as the print engraved by Edme Jeaurat, which helps to increase the audience and maintain the memory of these events.
The exchange of alliances
The scene represented is part of the continuity of treaty of the Pyrenees signed on November 7, 1659. This act sealing the end of the war that began in 1635 between France andSpain results in the retreat of the Habsburgs from Spain into Europe. In the form of reconciliation, a secret clause provides for marriage between the young Louis XIV, born September 5, 1638 and his cousin, daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, the Infanta Marie Therese, born September 10, 1638.
The wedding takes place on June 9 in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, whose ongoing expansion work is masked by large drapes. Like his predecessors, the artist interprets the place in his own way, because the antependium of the altar and the bishop's cope do not correspond to the preserved liturgical objects. As for the interview, the composition has a geometric aspect, with two parts having the bishop as a central pivot, the cross and the painting representing a Descent from the Cross. The painting captures a key moment in the ceremony: after the exchange of consents, Louis XIV takes the hand of Marie-Thérèse to pass her the alliance held in hand by Monsignor Jean d´Olce, Bishop of Bayonne.
The representation of Louis XIV’s marriage goes beyond the historical memory of a nuptial celebration. The act and the painting celebrate the new found peace between the two largest Catholic monarchies in Europe. Among the prestigious guests are the French actors in this reversal of diplomatic alliances for more than a century. Behind the king is Cardinal Mazarin, representing the interests of France during the peace talks. This is the liege of the Queen Dowager Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV, placed under the black canopy of widowhood.
The Court arrives in the Basque country a month before the wedding and settles in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a prosperous port in the Basque country from which the affairs of the kingdom are administered. On June 6, the two rulers meet and take the oath to observe the peace treaty in a pavilion in the center of Bidasoa, a river that separates the two kingdoms. The Infanta was officially received in France the next day. The queen's long mantle, which echoes the fleur-de-lis decoration of the altar, testifies to her rapid naturalization and her new French identity. The latter renounces its rights to the Spanish crown against the payment of a dowry of 500,000 gold ecus negotiated by Mazarin. This sum never having been paid, in 1667, two years after the death of Philippe IV, it served as a pretext for Louis XIV for the outbreak of the war of devolution by which he claims a share of the inheritance of the Spanish sovereign.
- Louis XIV
- Maria Theresa of Austria
- Anne of Austria
Lucien BÉLY, International relations in Europe, 17th-18th century, Paris, University Press of France, 2013, “Thémis”.
Lucien BÉLY, Louis XIV Dictionary, Paris, Robert Laffont, 2015, “Books”.
José CUBERO,The Invention of the Pyrenees, Pau, Ed. Cairn, 2009.
Gauthier LANGLOIS, “Painter to Marshal de Tessé and painter to the king, Jacques Laumosnier (1669-1744), Journal of the Historical and Archaeological Society of Maine, fourth series, volume 12 (year 2012), 2016, p. 157-174.
To cite this article
Stéphane BLOND, "Marriage of Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse of Austria"