The Sun King
10 11/16 x 5 15/16 in. (27.2 x 15.1 cm)
Stefano della Bella
(1610 - 1664)
Medium and Support:
Brown ink over black chalk with brown wash and traces of red chalk on laid paper
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr.
Location: Not currently on view
This delicate drawing shows Louis XIV, King of France, participating in a court ballet. Although highly decorative, it is an elegant and detailed portrait of a young man who, despite his age, has a commanding presence. It is also a romantic portrait of The Sun King, as he was called, who would ultimately become the most famous of French monarchs.
Born into a family of painters, sculptors, and goldsmiths, Stefano della Bella was quite possibly the most important Florentine artist of the 1600s. In 1633, he was sent to Rome to work for the wealthy and powerful Medici family, great patrons of the arts. Six years later, he traveled to Paris with the Medici ambassador to the court of King Louis XIII; his patrons included members of the French royal family, nobility, and publishers.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]