Jean-Léon Gérôme: The Reception of Le Grand Condé at Versailles (1878)

(Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France)

A colorful painting by the French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. The main two persons on this painting is King Louis XIV of France and one of the most famous French generals - Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, Duc d'Enghien (1621-1686) - better known as Le Grand Condé (The great Condé). Louis II de Bourbon is best known for his spectacular victory at the battle of Rocroi (19 May 1643) during which the Spanish army of Flanders was destroyed and which marked an end of Spanish dominance of the european battlefields. The pride and ambition of Condé however earned him distrust and dislike and he became estranged from the royal court. During the Fronde (a civil war in France from 1648-1653) he fough against the royal armies because of which he was exiled. Eventually Condé was recalled from exile and allowed back into royal service. Condé fough his last great battle during the Franco-Dutch war (1672–1678) at the Battle of Seneffe (11 August 1674), a hard-fought battle against a Dutch-German-Spanish army. After the tactical victory of Condé he was recieved at Versailles by the French king which marked an end of Condé's exile. This scene is shown here. Louis XIV stands on top of the staircase, surrounded by people from the court, while Condé advances towards Louis XIV in a respectful manner with laurel wreaths on his path, while captured enemy flags are displayed on both sides of the stairs. Painting from 1878.

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