Monday, September 27, 2010

How Did You Wake Up This Morning?

Louis XV greets the morning at his Levée
Voltaire struggles into his pants during his Levée
The Levée was a formal celebration ceremony of a royal's rising from bed in the morning.  If you think the concept sounds silly you are not alone.  Voltaire is great agreement with you.  When he had his portrait done in the early 1760s by Jean Huber, Voltaire chose to be portrayed at his levée, that is dictating to his secretary as he pulls on his breeches in the morning. 

The portrait was not only poking fun himself but mostly criticizing those who took themselves too seriously.  Even the dog in the painting is surprised by Voltaire's lack of modesty.  But that was Voltaire; always giving you the naked truth.


  1. Totally agree with Voltaire in this point...I loved the way they portrayed the stupidity of this morning ritual in the movie Marie Antoinette

  2. They did a good job of it! I always roll my eyes when I end up reading about the process (especially in France!)