Thijs van Kuijk

De Zonnekoning

Cats are territorial animals by nature. When they consider a home as their territory, they may display behaviors aimed at marking and protecting their territory. This can manifest as dominance over certain spaces or objects in the home. The French King Louis XIV is best known in the Netherlands for his constant drive for power expansion of his territory. He was given the name Sun King, as the center of the world.

Visual factors play an immense role in hagiographies, the visual language and symbols we recognize immediately give us an idea that what we are looking at is important. These two figures are combined in this digital sculpture because they actually have quite a lot in common. People are taught to worship both, but what exactly do people worship?

The Sun King is a 3D sculpture made as an investigation into worship and the visual language that goes with it. We see all kinds of symbols that we automatically link to authority, to divinity. We see porcelain, gold, jewels and cat body parts.

In the center we see a cat dancing. We clearly see his ‘manhood’ still hanging between his legs and his tail is up. In his left hand he holds an orb: a symbol for the world, which lies in the palm of his claw. In his right hand a scepter, because whoever waves the scepter is the boss. In front of the cat is a golden relic, unknown to the viewer what it contains. A crown of gold and various jewels is placed upon his head as the superior symbol.

Above the cat hangs a golden sun, with a bottom in the middle: the most important symbol of cat authority. The cat is surrounded by four Doric columns with an arch that connects everything together unified by porcelain and gold.

This project focuses technically on the relationship between hard modeling and soft modelling. Where the cat sculpture is formed through soft sculpting, the architectural elements are built through hard sculpting techniques.