Maurice Quentin Delatour, King Louis XV, ca. 1748. Image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.
King Louis XV was “a patron of learned men and engineers”(Chateau Versailles). Much of his knowledge, particularly of political affairs, was sourced from his tutor, the Duc d’Orléans. Throughout his reign, which took place just after the Scientific Revolution, King Louis XV collected various “precision instruments” to support his interest in science. He also hired geographers and astronomers to improve knowledge of France’s geography. These endeavors kept King Louis XV busy; though he was liked by the people, he was also the most “cut off from his people” of any French king (Mitford 11).
Madame de Pompadour had a profound influence on King Louis XV. Mitford writes: “soon the King began to share her love of beautiful objects and nothing could have been more felicitous for him. [Though his] private life had been devoid of serious interests,” Madame de Pompadour drew character out of King Louis XV (Mitford 95). This influence, however, functioned in both directions. King Louis XV also attracted Madame de Pompadour with his great power and wealth, both of which are suggested Delatour’s portrait of him.
Essay by Emma Snover.
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