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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The Sun King
Louis XIV

King Louis XIV (1638-1718) was the ruler of France from 1643 to 1715, an impressive 72 year-long reign that is the longest known for any monarch in European history. An absolute monarch, Louis XIV believed his power as king was bestowed directly from God. He selected the sun to be his personal emblem and became known as the “Sun King.” Louis XIV enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle and is remembered by many as the king who constructed Versailles, a magnificent palace outside of Paris with elaborate décor and expansive grounds.

Creator Charles Le Brun
Source Wikimedia Commons

1661 Portrait of Louis XIV, oil on canvas by Charles Le Brun, Palace of Versailles, France

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