Course de têtes: disposition des cinq quadrilles dans l’amphithéâtre
On June 5 and 6, 1662, the 24-year-old Louis XIV staged a “carrousel,” or equestrian tournament, to celebrate the birth of his son and publicly assert his authority. The highest nobles of the court, including the king, dressed up as Romans, Turks, Persians, Indians, and “Savages of America” and performed military skill contests on horseback. The event took place in Paris, in the courtyard between the Louvre and Tuileries palaces (today’s Place du Carrousel), and was documented in a sumptuously illustrated book published in French and Latin editions. This publication inaugurated the printmaking enterprise later known as the Cabinet du Roi.
For his next chivalric festival, the 1664 “Pleasures of the Enchanted Isle,” Louis XIV abandoned this urban setting in favor of the budding gardens of Versailles.