Louis XIV is in the centre of the composition, flanked by Neptune who is giving him ships while Mars is bringing him troops. There is a parallel with the composition of the Decision to go to war against the Dutch, where the king is depicted between Mars and Minerva. Here, Neptune is brandishing his trident and Mars his lance. The two gods are standing in chariots, the first in the sea and the other on land. Pluto has forged weapons and armour which are being presented to the King, while the precious metals in his empire can be seen in the foreground. Strangely, Pluto has been painted right at the top and seems to be in the background, whereas he was in the foreground and in the place of Mars in the preparatory drawing, which is conserved at the Palace of Versailles. The king is being advised by Provision holding a compass and an open book. Minerva, representing Wisdom, is holding the king’s plumed helmet over his head, which is adorned with the royal crown. Mercury is also depicted next to the king and is holding his shield, symbolising royal Eloquence. Ceres, flying through clouds, is bringing supplies of wheat for the troops while Apollo, depicted symmetrically opposite, is overseeing the construction of the ramparts of fortresses.

Full title : The king arming on land and sea, 1672


  • Title: The king arming on land and sea
  • Creator: Charles Le Brun
  • Physical Location: Palace of Versailles
  • Provenance: Palace of Versailles
  • Type: Painting
  • Copyright: © RMN (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps