115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kingmaker: Reproducible Portraits of Louis-Philippe Before the 1830 Revolution

Sean DeLouche, Baylor University

Although Louis-Philippe was visually represented as a moderate and conciliatory “citizen king” during his reign as monarch of the July Monarchy (r. 1830-48), this paper demonstrates that the campaign to visualize him as such began in the 1810s and 20s, well before the July 1830 Revolution that swept him into power.  This paper examines these images by investigating the myriad of ways they would have been “seen” by different viewers across the fractured political and social spectrum in post-Revolutionary France.

Proposal: 

After Louis-Philippe was swept into power as King of the July Monarchy (r. 1830-48) following a violent revolution in July 1830, he and his regime promoted the idea of the juste milieu, or compromise, moderation, and middleness.  Visual portraits and literary accounts of the new monarch stressed his middling credentials—he a royal prince who shared bourgeois values and was dubbed the “citizen king.”  Art historians have studied the middling strategies of Louis-Philippe’s portraiture during the July Monarchy.  However, I demonstrate that the campaign to visualize Louis-Philippe as a moderate compromise or alternative to the extremes of absolute monarchy and radical republicanism began well before the July 1830 Revolution.  This paper analyzes a suite of reproducible portraits from the 1810s and 20s that showed the future King in a variety of guises that were to become familiar during the July Monarchy.  This paper examines these images by investigating the myriad of ways they would have been “seen” by different viewers across the fractured political and social spectrum in post-Revolutionary France.  This paper considers the inherent contradictions and tensions of these portraits and the various strategies the images took to navigate those conflicts.

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