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Painting table analysis

Simon VOUET - Portrait of Louis XIII

Here is a painting of an official order from King Louis XIII to his first painter. For Simon Vouet, this involves creating a portrait with the idea of bringing together the kingdoms of France and Navarre with the symbolism of two allegories. But in the midst of so many conveniences, you may be intrigued like me by this curious and improbable royal index which obviously attracts attention. I wondered which fly had bitten the official painter of the king who, in no case, should not disrespect his protector, and must magnify him to establish his image as a monarch.

Analysis Simon VOUET - Portrait Louis XIII the lines of sight on the curious index.

VOUET Simon - Portrait of Louis XIII - 1634 - Louvre - photo gm

The extension of the horizontal line passing through the king's right eye points to the tip of this curious index. Index which is the second point of reference for painters for their composition. Is it Vouet's desire to support a point that remains to be deciphered?

Analysis Simon VOUET - Portrait Louis XIII the lines of sight on the curious index.

The line of sight of the right eye points to the curious royal index.

Let us continue with the lines of gaze of the two women, allegorical symbols of France and Navarre:

Analysis Simon VOUET - Portrait Louis XIII the lines of sight on the curious index. and the regard of France

Looks of the allegory of France

Analysis Simon VOUET - Portrait Louis XIII the lines of sight on the curious index and the regard of Navarre

Plots of the look of the allegory of Navarre plus the angles of 9 ° in blue and 36 ° in yellow of the two women.

For the allegory of France on the left, its horizontal line of sight points to the royal index while its vertical points to the other royal index. Note that the line of gaze of this woman joins up with that of the king on the edge of the frame.


For the allegory of Navarre, his gaze points to the left eye of Louis XIII while passing by his thumb.


Finally, by tracing the viewing angles (blue at 9 ° and yellow at 36 °), we easily conclude that the two   allegories are in agreement with the king who seems to lead his two kingdoms to the finger and the eye!






This grid traced below in white installs the large masses of the composition: the king in the central point, the two women inclined according to the ½ medians, the curtain which also follows the inclination.

We notice then that the horizontal line of gaze of the king comes to target precisely at the bottom of the frame the point of these half-medians. Traces which seem to indicate that the king takes care of the balance of his power.



By extending the line of the stick held by the king, its axis crosses at a point where the looks of the king and Navarre meet.

Analysis portrait of Louis XIII by VOUET, harmonic and oblique grid.

The analysis of this composition does not stop there! You will be able to materialize how France and Navarre are guided by the king, for example by drawing the parallels with the stick and stopping on the points of the first rule: eye, index, thumb, knee, etc ...


Work protected by copyright © guymauchampU79J1B9 and a deposit at SGDL Paris

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