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Portrait of Louis XIII, King of France

Portrait of Louis XIII, King of France, c. 1622-25

Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577-1640
Oil on canvas
46-1/2 x 38 in. (118.1 x 96.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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Louis XIII, son of Henry IV and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, was born in 1601 and became king at age nine. Although he was declared of age in 1615, stronger men and especially his mother dominated him. He never learned to rule his kingdom effectively. Nevertheless, Rubens has portrayed the young king with all of the attributes of strength. He is dressed in a polished suit of armor and rests his left hand, enclosed in a gauntlet, on the table next to his plumed helmet, while his right hand grasps a marshall's baton. Attached to a ribbon at his right side is the Cross of the Order of the Saint Esprit.

The portrait of Louis, and its companion portrait of Anne of Austria, were for many years in the collection of the Archduke Leopold William of Austria.

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