This painting depicts Louis XIII standing in full armor on a terrace, resting his hand on a plumed helmet. Champaigne portrayed the king a number of times and this portrait most closely resembles in composition a work now in the Eglise du Val-de-Grâce, Paris, which was published by Bernard Dorival as a work from the artist’s studio.1
There are a number of differences between the two portraits: in the Paris picture, the king is shown holding a long metal rod, instead of the military baton decorated with fleur-de-lis
depicted in this version; his collar is much smaller than in the present canvas, and he wears a white sash across his chest in the opposite direction. There are also other slight differences in the costumes and background draperies.
Louis XIII ruled as King of France from 1610-1643. His mother was Marie de’Medici who acted as regent during his minority. In 1615 he married Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain. Louis relied heavily on his chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, giving him enormous power and influence in governing the country. He was succeeded by his son, Louis XIV.
1. See B. Dorival, Supplément au Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre de Philippe de Champaigne, Paris 1992, p. 117, cat. no. XV, reproduced opp. P. 112.