Art, Body, and Power: The Construction of Body Politics of Louis XIV (1648–1715) and Urban VIII (1568-1644)

Matheus Corassa da Silva, M.A.

The objective of this research project is to analyze how the artist Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), premier peintre du roi and perhaps the most important name of the artistic métier during the government of Louis XIV, contributed, through his works, to the construction of the image of the monarch as body politics or body of power, the incarnation of the state and therefore of the nation itself, which resided not in a separate body but entirely in the person of the king. When we observe Le Brun’s images, it’s possible to recreate the presence of Louis XIV: even absent, he becomes present; although in the past, he returns to the present; and even being already dead, he revives. An important model for French culture and politics was developed by Urban VIII in Rome. Therefore, his body politics must be analyzed. It is also my intention highlight in this process of construction of the body politics of Louis XIV and Urban VIII possible theoretical dialogues with gender discourses, especially the constitution of a specific masculinity within the court society, and with decolonial studies, since the king’s body extends over the France’s colonialist project in America and interacts with the creation of an African-American identity.

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