Louis XIII of France

   The eldest son of King Henry IV of France and Marie de' Medici, who acted as his regent after Henry's assassination in 1610. In 1615, Marie arranged for Louis' marriage to Anne of Austria and, in 1617, Louis exiled his mother to Blois for having prompted the rebellion of the nobility against the regency. Two years later, Marie escaped and allied herself with her younger son, Gaston d'Orleans, against Louis, only to be defeated. In 1622, Cardinal Armand Richelieu, then Louis' secretary of state and later first minister, reconciled the king with his mother, but this was not to last. A conspiracy to overthrow Richelieu resulted in Marie's permanent banishment from the French court. With the help of Richelieu, Louis was able to achieve religious unity in France and to move closer to absolutist power by diminishing the power of the nobility.
   Louis was a notable patron of the arts. He is known to have owned a St. Sebastian by George de la Tour and to have commissioned Simon Vouet's Allegory of Wealth (c. 1630-1635; both Paris, Louvre). Vouet's studio, in fact, became the place of dissemination of the king's artistic ideology. In c. 1639 Jacques Lemercier extended for him the west wing of the Louvre Palace. Peter Paul Rubens, who worked primarily for Marie, painted the portrait Anne of Austria (1621-1625; Paris, Louvre) under Louis' patronage, as well as 12 cartoons for tapestries recounting the main episodes of Constantine the Great's life (1620-1621). Louis is also the one to have called Nicolas Poussin to France to work on the decorations of the Louvre Palace, a commission that proved to be disastrous as Poussin lacked the expertise to work in the large scale the king demanded.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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