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The Sun King

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The Sun King

ca. 1650
10 11/16 x 5 15/16 in. (27.2 x 15.1 cm)

Stefano della Bella
Italian (1610 - 1664)

Object Type: Drawing
Medium and Support: Brown ink over black chalk with brown wash and traces of red chalk on laid paper
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr.
Accession Number: 1991.86
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view
Collection: Lockhart Collection

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]

John Postle Heseltine (1843-1929), London; M. K. & Co. (dealers); Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr., Geneseo, New York; their gift to the Gallery in 1991

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It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue Entry for this artwork in the It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue. The exhibition ran from March 17-June 9, 2013

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