Louis XV by Hyacinth Rigaud 1710-1774. Known as Louis the Well Beloved succeeded his great grandfather Louis XIV in 1715. His reign was marked by conflicts with Austria and loss of territory in North America to Great Britain. He was an avid hunter and known for his extravagant generosity to his mistresses. He died of smallpox at the age of 64.
Called the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV was sole ruler of France from 1661. His wide-ranging powers and luxurious lifestyle have led to his rule being regarded as the epitome of Absolutism. Louis XIV wanted to strengthen France’s position in Europe. Rivalry with the Habsburgs led to numerous wars between the two powers in the seventeenth century.