Louis XVI Giving His Instructions to La Pérouse, 26 June 1785
Nicolas-André Monsiau (1754-1837)
Oil on canvas
Versailles, Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, inv. MV 220
In the library of his inner apartment in Versailles, Louis XVI, accompanied by his Secretary of State for the Navy, the Marquis de Castries, received the Count de La Pérouse, who was ready to set off on his scientific expedition around the world. The king gave him instructions on the routes to follow as well as the places to reconnoitre. Castries holds the brief containing the instructions for the expedition in his hand. This retrospective painting was commissioned by Louis XVIII, brother of Louis XVI, nearly thirty years later, in order to celebrate the memory of that seminal voyage.