Louis XIV (1638 - 1715)
Louis XIV (1638 – 1715)

Wisdom of monarchs adopted by many of today’s billionaires

Glory of the monarch was always a combination of the glory of the title, charisma of the majestic conqueror and the irresistibility of his personal charm. But intensification of fight for power between the social segments of political power – monarchy, aristocracy, priesthood and the bourgeoisie in the 17th century led to extra-glamorization of monarchic attributes. Monarchy tried to protect itself and stimulated in all the groups of the population the desire to admire and psychologically emulate the monarch – the glamour of his sublime personality. Top leader of the country (Louis XIV) felt the necessity to permanently self- aggrandize, glorify and propagandize himself and his lifestyle. Mass culture in a modern sense of the word (the cult of super-stars, secular ideology of scapegoating reactions and emotional perception of the reality in general) was born during Louis XIV’s lifetime (1638 – 1715).

Rossellini as an artist with a scholarly ambitions who was observing in the middle of 20th century unprecedented development of mass culture of consumerism (with its atrophy of symbolic language, semantic degradation of thinking and symbiosis with images as a style of perceiving reality), was interested in finding analogies between modern mass-cultural sensibility (consumerism of gaudy images) and the previous episodes of European history. “The Rise of Louis XIV” is the result of his historic studies and sharp artistic parallels.

It became not enough for a monarch and the wealthy among aristocracy, bourgeoisie and clergy to assert themselves through power and wealth – through group and individual fight for influence. It became absolutely necessary to build glamorous self-images and propagandize it by using ostentation and psychologically primitive narcissistic self-embellishment for the sake of achieving a successful aesthetic appeal. Louis XIV was one of the first monarchs in Europe who started to assert himself not only as a military leader and a tough and ruthless fighter for power but through aesthetic means of decorative clothes, eccentricity of manners and architectural excesses. He became a model monarch among European monarchs and even today’s super-rich with their super-lavish life styles who are more and more transforming money into luxury and a self-aggrandizing tool rather than letting it be a part of a working economy. For these our contemporaries wealth becomes a kind of self-decoration for self-protection.

Documentary style chosen by Rossellini for the film helps the viewers to have a real encounter with human drive for power seen in its de-romanticized truth and historical universality.

Jean-Marie Patte in the role of young Louis XIV

On June 15, 2014 posted –   Roberto Rossellini’s “The Rise of Louis XIV” (1966) – The Birth of Mass Culture and Consumerist Values As A Strategy of Population Manipulation  by Acting-Out Politics