Best Villains Ever

Louis XVI, beheaded during the French Revolution, was not the first Louis to be hated. His great-great-great-grandfather, Louis XIV, was the subject of one of the most awesome art attacks in history, a famous set of prints called Les Héros de la Ligue published in Amsterdam in 1691.

This collection was published anonymously, but it’s thought to have been created by some of the leading printmakers of the day. It features 16 monstrous caricatures of figures of the anti-Protestant repression in France, including Louis himself in death hoodie, his second wife Madame de Maintenon having the worst conceivable hair day, and controversial Catholic leaders such as archibishop of Rheims (in the crown) and Jesuit Charles Maurice Le Tellier (in profile as a drooling cretin).

Prints from Les Héros de la Ligue, Jacob Gole and Cornelis Dusart. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam