with the convent at Port Royal. The latter is, however, more
attractive as a portrait-painter.
It is difficult to select the Tight standpoint to view the Art op
Louis XIV. After the king's assumption of the reins of government
(1661), a thoroughly monarchic art begins. Opposition to all inde¬
pendent efforts, and an abrupt hostility to everything foreign and
even to the mass of the people at home distinguish this 'golden age'.
The 'Roi Soleil' is a Roman Imperator, the heroes of the tragedies
are Romans, art also must be Roman. The 'Academie' founded in
1648 developed in sharpest contrast with the 'maitrises', or old
guilds. Everything was reduced to formula. But this cold and
pompous art had something grand in its uniformity, its self-con¬
fidence, and its definiteness of aim; and the effect was heightened
not only by the personalities of the king and his minister Colbert,
but still more by the art-dictatorship of Charles Le Brun (1619-90).
However unmoved Le Brun's paintings may leave us, there is
something singularly imposing, almost recalling the universal
geniuses of the Renaissance, in the manner in which he designed
the magnificent decorations of the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles
and the Galerie d'Apollon in the Louvre, sketched groups in bronze
and marble for the sculptors, and painted and drew patterns for his
Manufacture des Gobelins, which then included nearly every branch
of industrial art. The bronzes by Coyzevox, the cabinets by Boule,
the mirrors by Cucci, the arabesques by Birain all harmonize
with Le Brun's ceiling-paintings, just as these harmonize with the
buildings of Mansart and the gardens of Le Notre, and as the entire
creative art of the period harmonizes with the tragedies of Racine.
Art as a whole must be regarded as a setting for the court of
Louis XIV., but it is a decorative art of the very highest rank.
The Architecture of the period is much less satisfactory.
Perrault's famous colonnade at the Lonvre now excites as little
enthusiasm as the fatiguing facade of the palace at Versailles by
Hardouin and Mansart (1645-1709) or as the Palais des Invalides by
Bruant. The great dome of the Invalides by Mansart and that of
the Val-de-Grace, now at last completed, are, howeveT, honourable
exceptions to the rule. With Painting it is much the same. Who
now cares for La Fosse, Jouvenet, or Coypel? The portrait-painters
Mignard, Largilliere, a.nd'>Rigaud — all admirably represented at
the Louvre — are, however, still interesting. Sculpture occupies
a much higher position. However absurd Voltaire's dictum may
now appear, that Francois Girardon (1628-1715) had 'attained to
all the perfection of the antique', we cannot refuse our admiration
to that sculptor's tomb of Richelieu (in the church of the Sor-
bonne), his 'Rape of Proserpine' and statues of rivers, and above
all to his charming leaden relief of 'Diana at the bath', in the park
of Versailles. With him may be named a crowd of others: Legros,
Le Hongre, the two Marsy, Desjardins, Lepautre, Van Cleve, Tuby,