Art Diary

Louis XV, Passions of a King

14 October 2022

This exhibition at the Palace of Versailles (18 October–19 February 2023) reveals the many interests of Louis XV – from botany and hunting to rococo style. Taking in the full breadth of the king’s reign from when he ascended the throne at the age of five to his death in 1774, the show includes a vast range of nearly 400 artworks. Highlights include Nicolas de Largillière’s Madame de Ventadour with King Louis XIV and his heirs (c. 1715), an impressive portrait depicting the young king among his family members as well as a collection of botanical sketches. Meanwhile, a later section dedicated Louis XV’s many mistresses includes the vivid portrait of Madame du Barry by François-Hubert Drouais (1774). The show concludes with a presentation of rococo objects, including an ornate astronomical clock by Claude-Siméon Passemant which once resided in Louis XV’s private chambers. Find out more on the Musée d’Orsay website. 

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

(c. mid 18th century), Claude-Siméon Passemant. Château de Versailles

Astronomical Clock (mid 18th century), Claude-Siméon Passemant. Château de Versailles © Château de Versailles, Dit. RMN C. Fouin

Portrait de madame Du Barry François-Hubert Drouais (1774). Versailles, chambre de commerce et d’industrie des Yvelines. Photo: © CCI PIDF / Côme Sittler

The Lion Hunt (1735), Jean François de Troy. © RMN-Grand Palais/Hervé Lewandowski