Friday is the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis' namesake, King Louis IX of France. You might be familiar with Louis' silhouette from the prominent sculpture on Art Hill in Forest Park. You know, this one:
Pretty epic image, right? But we thought we'd give you a few more facts about the man, king and later, saint.
1. Louis was born in 1214.
What else was going on in the world then? The Emperor Xuanzong of Jin China was in tremendous conflict with Genghis Khan.
For its contribution to the 250th anniversary of St. Louis, the St. Louis Art Museum is planning an exhibition showcasing the influence of Louis IX on the world of art. Louis IX, also known as St. Louis, is the city’s namesake.
At the heart of the exhibit will be a folio out of a picture Bible on loan from the Morgan Library in New York.
“We believe that the king, Louis IX, actually commissioned this Bible,” said St. Louis Art Museum curator Judy Mann. “It is of such outstanding quality it had to have been a royal commission.”
How did a French king born in 1214 become the namesake of a city founded in the heart of the Americas 550 years later? The answer is woven into the fabric of St. Louis’ identity even now, as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the city’s founding.
Friday marks the 800th anniversary of the birth of the city’s namesake: Louis IX, the only French king to become a saint.