The hunt under Louis XV

The hunt under Louis XV

  • The hunting lunch. Title from the Louvre notice: "A Hunting Lunch". Detail of the central part

    TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

  • The lion hunt.

    TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

  • The oyster lunch.

    TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

To close

Title: The hunting lunch. detail of the central part

Author : TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

Creation date : 1737

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 241 - Width 170

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski

Picture reference: 05-535071 / RF1990-18

The hunting lunch. detail of the central part

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski

To close

Title: The lion hunt.

Author : TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

Creation date : 1735

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 183.5 - Width 128.5

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Picardy Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 96-010928 / invLouvre8229; unmused of Amiens2088

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

To close

Title: The oyster lunch.

Author : TROY Jean-François de (1679 - 1752)

Creation date : 1735

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 180 - Width 126

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Condé museum (Chantilly) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Domaine de Chantilly) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 02-004912 / PE366

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Domaine de Chantilly) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Publication date: January 2013

Professor of modern history at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis.

Historical context

Louis XV's passion for hunting

In 1737, when Jean-François de Troy painted A hunting lunch, whose counterpart, The Death of a Deer, has disappeared, Louis XV is twenty-seven years old. De Troy painted in this frame The lion hunt, a canvas significantly intended for the dining room of the king's small apartments at the Château de Fontainebleau which he particularly appreciated and where he undertook major works.

Image Analysis

Country rejoicing

Jean-François de Troy paints the simplicity of the country setting and the spontaneous character of this lunch. A servant lowers a chair to allow a standing guest to sit down, while a leaning maid watches the scene. The quality of the guests is not in doubt. Their clothes are the latest fashions, a carriage is stowed away in the background, and the presence of a colored servant speaks to an aristocratic lifestyle.

Lunch is not stuffy but on the contrary expresses carelessness and joie de vivre. This scene contrasts with Oyster lunch by the same painter, a royal commission intended to adorn the winter dining room of Louis XV's small apartments at Versailles. Indeed, only men participate in this post-hunt meal taken in a sumptuous setting, where oysters and bottles of champagne evoke pleasure and the pleasures of the senses.

Interpretation

Pleasures of the senses

In the mid-1730s, Jean-François de Troy but also Nicolas Lancret and Carle Van Loo talented painting al fresco meals. Their paintings are for the most part intended for the private apartments that Louis XV occupies in his chateaux of La Muette, Fontainebleau or Versailles. Hunting is at the heart of princely sociability. It’s a men’s sport, but women join the hunters for picnics.

For Louis XV, hunting was also an opportunity to open a parenthesis in the very restrictive ritual of the court. In a simple rural setting, Jean-François de Troy paints the joy of living and carelessness. The dishes are fine and plentiful. They encourage pleasure. With the search for the right word and the wit, games of seduction are an essential composition of aristocratic social life and here significantly occupy the center of the picture.

  • Louis XV
  • hunt
  • campaign
  • meal
  • monarchical court
  • absolute monarchy

Bibliography

Andrée CORVOL, History of the hunt: man and beast, Paris, Perrin, 2010.

Philippe SALVADORI, Hunting under the Ancien Régime, Paris, Fayard, 1996.

To cite this article

Pierre-Yves BEAUREPAIRE, "The hunt under Louis XV"


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