TITLE

Les médailles du règne de Louis XV de France

AUTHOR(S)
Veillon, Marie
PUB. DATE
March 2013
SOURCE
Medal;Spring2013, Issue 62, p4
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
At the commencement of the reign of Louis XV the officially sanctioned Academy of Inscriptions and Fine Letters began to commission two medals each year to be presented to the king, one in January and the other on 25 August, the festival of St Louis. Records of the discussions concerning subjects, imagery and legends are preserved in the Academy's registers, and the various issues were announced in the Mercure. Two central figures in the process were Claude Gros de Boze, the Academy's secretary from 1706 to 1742, and the Duke of Antin, who acted as an intermediary with the king. It was Boze who suggested the design for the medal commemorating the taking of Fontarabia in 1719 (fig. 1). Besides the two annual medals, the Academy also commissioned foundation medals for new structures and others commemorating particular events, such as the official coronation of the king in 1722 (fig. 2). Nicolas Godonesche's unauthorised Médailles du règne de Louis XV appeared in 1727. Four subsequent editions appeared, the last, with G.R. Fleurimont as its author, continuing the story up to the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748. A committee was established in 1749 to complete the series, its membership including Jean-Pierre de Bougainville, secretary of the Academy from 1749 to 1755. The subjects of the additional thirty-three medals decided upon on 12 May 1750 are listed here in the Appendix. The completed series consisted of 111 medals of a uniform size, commemorating events relating to wars, the royal family, diplomacy, administration, economics, culture and science. The imagery of the medal commemorating the fortification of Metz (fig. 3) followed the precedent of medals produced under Louis XIV. The medals representing the Turkish ambassador's royal audience (fig. 4), the reception of knights into the Order of the Holy Spirit (fig. 5) and the homage of the Duke of Lorraine (fig. 6) also took medals of Louis XIV as their models. Others made use of classical allegory, as in the medal representing Louis as the Hercules of the Muses (fig. 7) and another commemorating road improvements, which, following a proposal from Boze, shows 'the goddess of public roads as she is represented on coins of Trajan' (fig. 8). The medal recording the conclusion of peace with Germany has a classical figure of Peace (fig. 9), whilst the medals marking the birth of twin princesses and celebrating the happiness of France show Fecundity and Felicity respectively (figs 10, 11). Under the secretaryship of Charles Le Beau (1755-72), the Academy lost much of its interest in medals, which were then issued more sporadically. The final medal of Louis XV, commemorating the king's death, was agreed at a session held on 25 March 1775, along with a medal for the accession of Louis XVI.
ACCESSION #
87605253

 

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