Les Rêves Des Rois / The Dreams of Kings
I’ve been fascinated with the origins and history of our collective Western aesthetic and the realization that no matter how advanced our tools and vision may become that we (as Westerners) are forever bound to a universal aesthetic initiated by the visionaries of the renaissance, and realized by kings. For this reason I’ve created this collection of images as evidence of the aesthetic dreams and visions of François I and Louis XIV (The Sun King) of France, and to speak to their indelible impact on our collective visual conscience.
Both men -- in their own times and in their own ways -- moved the world towards beauty. François I brought Humanism and the Italian Renaissance to France and introduced his countrymen to the genius of Da Vinci. Louis XIV, through his example and, some would say, because of his narcissism, established an aesthetic priority and placed an importance on the grand and the beautiful still very much in evidence today. In fact, Pierre L’Enfant’s 1791 design for Washington, DC, was based largely on the formal symmetry and radiating grand boulevards originated by Louis XIV at Versailles.
It could be argued that many current artists and architects -- among them American conceptual artist Jeff Koons and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava -- can trace much of their sensibility to visual elements championed by François and Louis. For Les Rêves des Rois I traveled to the Palace of Versailles and the châteaux of the Loire to trace, document, and honor the essence of this aesthetic -- and the dreams of the men who imagined it on a grand scale.