Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik

Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Representational Problems under Louis XIV André Félibien versus Thomas Hobbes

Horst Bredekamp

The sovereign, usually portrayed in personalised form until the French Revolution, has been examined by political iconography with reference to many aspects of motifs and in many forms of media. The principles of the functioning and the iconographic pattern are regarded as extensively researched; however, mathematics has not been considered in this context. Based on an exemplary research design, this project aims to explore the role of mathematics in the representation of the sovereign.

It will address the founding of the modern theory of the state by Thomas Hobbes (1651) and the controversial debate over the course of the following two centuries on the representation of the sovereign. At its core is the conflict between a political science based on mathematics, as expounded by Hobbes in »Leviathan«, and an image of the sovereign grounded in metaphysics, as propounded by André Félibien, chronicler of the arts and culture under Louis XIV, in »Portrait du Roy« (1663).