Aulica Coll. No 10 - Pour la plus grande gloire du roi : Louis XIV en thèses

Véronique Meyer, Pour la plus grande gloire du roi : Louis XIV en thèses, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Presses universitaires de Rennes (“Histoire” collection, “Aulica. L’Univers de la cour” series), June 2017, 16,5 × 24 cm, 372 pages, 99 black & white illustrations, index, €23 (ISBN: 978-2-7535-5464-1).


Theses flourished in 17th century France. Like Richelieu and Mazarin, Louis XIV placed great importance on theses to spread his image. 130 philosophy, theology, law and medical theses were dedicated to him between 1638 and 1704. Although some were written about his father, his mother or the provincial legislatures, he appears at the top of the page either in person or represented by his coat of arms. The students were part of the royal entourage, sons of ministers or members of parliament, members of religious congregations, and sometimes even foreigners. Courtiers, members of parliament and high-ranking member of the church participated in the public defence where the candidate and their family sang the king’s praises. Posters were distributed bearing his portrait - or an allegory to his glory - produced by the greatest artists of the time, thus incurring great expense. Defended in Paris, but also in the provinces and abroad, the theses, and with them the image of the king, reached the homes of the French people and beyond the borders of the kingdom.
This work successively describes the role of theses in university curricula, their defence, their dedication and the production of their illustrations, emphasising the role of painters, engravers and editors. It demonstrates how they chronicle the king’s history and the changes in his physical and moral portrayal.

This volume is accompanied by a catalogue, richly illustrated, of theses dedicated to the king: “Catalogue raisonné of theses dedicated to Louis XIV”, Véronique Meyer, 12/20/2023, [Other] NAKALA :

Véronique Meyer, Professor of History of Art at the université de Poitiers, is a specialist in engraving in the modern age. Her major publications include the Commission des travaux historiques de la Ville de Paris L’illustration des thèses à Paris dans la seconde moitié du XVIIe siècle. Peintres, graveurs, éditeurs (2002) and L’œuvre gravé de Gilles Rousselet, graveur parisien du XVIIe siècle (2004). She also participated in the exhibition Images du Grand Siècle. L’estampe française au temps de Louis XIV (1660-1715), (Bnf-Getty Research Institute, 2015-2016).

Book reviews

Read Yannick Nexon’ review published in the Revue Dix-septième siècle,, no. 279 (2018/2), pp. 354-355 (in french):

Read Eric Suire’ review published in the Revue française d’histoire du livre, no. 139 (2018) (in french):

Read Pascale Cugy’ review published in the Revue de l’art, no. 198 (winter 2017), pp. 100-101 (in french):

Read Rémi Mathis (BnF, Estampes)’ review published in the Nouvelles de l’estampe, no. 260 (autumn 2017), pp. 64-67 (in french):

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