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Getty | The Sun King at Sea: A Conversation on Maritime Art and Galley Slavery

February 10, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Art historian Meredith Martin and historian Gillian Weiss discuss their new cross-disciplinary book, The Sun King at Sea, which focuses on the presence and portrayal of galley slaves, especially enslaved Muslims, during the reign of King Louis XIV (r. 1643–1715). Examining ship design, artillery sculpture, medals, paintings, and prints, it uncovers forced labor as a vital aspect of royal representation between France’s Mediterranean coast and its capital. The Sun King at Sea not only decenters the study of French art in this period but also challenges the assumption that human bondage had long vanished from continental France.
Image: Cannon cascabel showing an enslaved Turk, Jean Baubé, 1680. Photo: Meredith Martin and Gillian Weiss