Reign Of Louis XIV. - Continued
( Originally Published 1899 )
ARCHITECTS AND SCULPTORS
IN the last chapter I showed how the Art of the reign of Louis XIV. manifested itself in theory. In this we shall see its manifestation in practice—that is to say, in the buildings of the time. For Sculpture is mainly used as a decorative accessory to the Architecture of the epoque.
We now reach one of those periodic Classic reactions which are landmarks in the history of French Art. But each of these revivals of Classic Art has its own character. That of the " Siècle de Louis XIV." is no longer softened and beautified by the daring yet dainty grace, the joyous carelessness Of the Renaissance. A reign of law and order, of official and aristocratic art, has taken the place of those enchanting and spontaneous creations of the earlier Classic revival. The men of the Renaissance were unlearned, and dared to be themselves. Now every one has read his Vitruvius. Nearly every one has been to Rome. He knows too much ; and at the same time not enough. The pedagogue has taken the place of the uncultured artist. And the architects of the day adopt the severely classic style which they suppose to represent the architecture of Imperial Rome. With the growing knowledge of and admiration for Classic form as evidenced in the literature of Corneille and Racine, an imitation of Roman Classic architecture was considered the most desirable form in architecture. The anachronisms we find in it, are not more startling than portraits of Louis XIV. in full Roman armour, with an enormous wig. It was an imitation. Not a national and spontaneous art. But it reflected the tendencies of the time. And as we find all through the history of French Art, the architects of France were sufficiently strong to impress a certain national character upon it, which distinguishes the " Style Louis XIV." from that of other nations.
What this style was at its very best, may be seen in the North façade of the Louvre by Le Vau ; and in the Palace of Meudon by Hardouin-Mansart. Meudon, "being without " any pillars or pilasters, avoids all those shams which so " often disfigure the designs of the age. It is impossible to " study this building and the northern façade of the Louvre " without feeling that this was the true style of the age ; " which if the architects had only persevered in cultivating, " they might have produced something as beautiful as it " was appropriate."
Increased room was needed for the growing exigencies of a magnificent Court. The modern requirements of light and spaciousness for splendid assemblies, ceremonies and receptions, were met by the large windows, the lofty ceilings, the galleries and saloons of Versailles, the new Louvre, and many another lesser palace. But while the gain was immense within the buildings, the uniformity of ideal without often degenerates into an overpowering monotony. The chief fault of the new buildings of the Louvre and Versailles is their want of sky line. The length of Perrault's famous Colonnade—the eastern façade of the Louvre—splendid though it is too great for its height—565 feet against 95. If Perrault's design had been carried out in its entirety this would have been avoided. The Domes he proposed to place at each end, and the huge groups of statuary upon the pediment in the centre, would have broken the monotony of the long line, and given it height. The same fault is evident to a far greater extent at Versailles. Supposing Hardouin-Mansart to have been more original and less correct, it is difficult to imagine what glorious results might not have been obtained in that most splendid of Palaces, where unequalled opportunities were given the architect. As it is, though the effect of the Garden Front at Versailles is grand from its very size, it is like the wall of some vast street. It leaves one utterly unmoved, save with dismay at thinking what it might have been. It is cold, official, monotonous. One longs to break down ; to build up ; to thrust deep openings through those stately walls, which would give light and shade, and break the long flat line of the balustrade against the sky. One yearns for towers or domes—for one of those deep cornices to crown the building, which are the glory of the Renaissance—for the high roofs of Maisons and Meudon. For anything in fact to give variety to the splendid monotony of that front of 1300 feet. But when we look for originality, it is not upon the exterior, but in the interior of the buildings of this age that we find it.
Owing to the growing restrictions of space in Paris, the outside of the Hotels offered but little inducement for decoration. But it was far otherwise within. Here every imaginable adornment was lavished upon the great saloons, galleries, staircases, vestibules. And nowhere has internal decoration been carried to a further point of perfection than at Versailles, where we are offered the most splendid examples possible of the Louis XIV. or " Rococo " style. It may be all wrong in the eyes of the architectural purist. But for sheer magnificence of effect—for actual beauty and richness of detail in marbles and painting, in gilded stucco, carved wood, superb gilt bronze, on all of which the greatest artists of the day did not disdain to work—it cannot be surpassed. Take, for example, the Salon de Mars. The modillions of the grand golden cornice are empty casques. And in the covings of the ceiling are golden trophies, and lovely cupids in gilt stucco riding eagles and taming lions. While golden oak wreaths frame the paintings of the ceiling by Audran, of Mars in his chariot drawn by wolves. Or, again, the Salon d'Apollon, with its ceiling by Lafosse ; and its golden wreaths hanging right out from the ceiling, and winged muses of extreme beauty, on which the great sculptor Coysevox did not refuse to work.
But all this glory of decorative art culminates in the Grande Galerie, dite des Glaces, and the Salons de la Guerre et de la Paix, which form its two extremities. Here decoration, with one object ever in view—the glorification of the King—can scarcely be carried further. Seventy-five metres long by 10-50 wide and 13 high, the coved roof represents in thirty subjects the history of the Grand Monarque, painted under the direction of Le Brun from his own most carefully painted designs. Boileau and Racine composed the inscriptions for each of these subjects, which are set in carved and gilded sculpture of indescribable richness and variety. The great trophies of gilt bronze upon magnificent coloured marbles, the twenty-four groups of lovely children in gilded stucco along the cornice, are due to Coysevox. The capitals of the pilasters, the frames of the Venetian mirrors—all the details of ornament—are by the first artists of the day. While in the Salon de la Guerre, in Coysevox's immortal bas relief, the King, young, radiant, triumphant, tramples nations in chains under his horse's feet. When we add to the decorations that have survived war and revolution, all that has been lost—the statues, vases, in-laid tables, carved cabinets, and above all the famous silver mobilier made at the Gobelins by the goldsmith Ballin to adorn the Gallery—we get an idea of splendour almost unequalled. Most of these treasures are dispersed or destroyed. The silver furniture was sent to the mint in 1690, to defray the expenses of the war against the League of Augsbourg. Only Ballin's bronze vases in the gardens—chef d'oeuvres which re-pay the most careful study—and some of the great cartoons for tapestry in the museum, in which many of these silver works of art are represented, give us some faint notion of these vanished glories.
But there is another example of this style of decoration nearer than Versailles. Le Brun had already tried his hand on a somewhat similar work, which every visitor to Paris knows. In. February, 1661, the " Galerie des rois " at the Louvre, as it was then called, was destroyed by fire. The King entrusted Le Brun with its reconstruction. Le Vau rebuilt it. The two Marsys, Renaudin, and Girardon executed the magnificent plaster (stuc) ornaments of the ceiling. The panels of the walls were decorated with flowers by Baptiste, and divers subjects by Ballin, la Babonnière, and Léonard Gontier. While Le Brun designed the mythological subjects of the ceiling, reserving for his own hand the central compartment, representing the triumph of Apollo —a fresh delicate flattery to the King. Every precious work of art, modern and antique, was gathered together in this marvellous gallery, which we now know as the Galerie d'Apollon, where, says the Mercure galant in almost the words of the historian of Solomon's Temple, " gold was the " least precious thing ".
Such were the tendencies of Architecture and decorative Art under the " roi-soleil ". Without, severely classic ; within, the utmost magnificence and luxury of the Rococo style.
LE VAU, LoUis II., son of LoUis I. (b. 1612 ; d. 1670).-The favourite architect of Mazarin, of Fouquet, and of Louis XIV. in the early years of his personal government, Le Vau's reputation was already beginning when in 1640 he built the Hotel Lambert on the Ile St. Louis.' In 1653 he began the chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte for Fouquet, which was finished in 1660. Although at times Le Vau produced works of considerable beauty—such for instance as the north façade of the Louvre (see above), and the south pavilion of the river front—his imaginative faculty was mediocre. And at Vaux this showed itself. " He sought for effect by means of " mere accumulation, and endeavoured to astonish by sheer " splendour." Vaux, the abode of the rich financier as well as the statesmen, displayed all the contemporary theories—the park à la française, parterres, vast courts, the Italo-classic style of the principal building. " But it is no longer, as at " Richelieu, the outcome of a settled, well-reasoned conviction ; there is on the contrary something factitious, composite ; it would seem that the rules are no longer so thoroughly " believed in." 2 But Vaux is of considerable importance in the history of the period. For it forms a transition between Lemercier's Richelieu, and the Versailles of Louis XIV.
In 1654 Le Vau succeeded Lemercier as Architecte du Roi. And like him, he was ordered to continue the works on the Louvre and the Tuileries. To him are due all the buildings on the north of the court, and those on the interior upon the east and south, as far as and including the central pavilion. This pavilion, which was of considerable merit, faced the Cupola of the Collège des Quatre Nations (now the Institute), which according to the instructions left by Mazarin, Le Vau began across the river in 1662. Unfortunately Le Vau did not share Lemercier's respect for the works of his predecessors. For after rebuilding the first floor of the Petite Galerie—now the Galerie d'Apollon—he disfigured the first part of the Grande Galerie, by doing away with the arcade of the rez-de-chaussée.
In 1664 he began his works of destruction on the Tuileries, destroying de l'Orme's spiral staircase, and replacing the circular Dome by the wretched quadrangular dome which existed till 1871. He further mutilated the buildings by modifying the wings of the central pavilion, destroying the roofs with their large windows, to replace them by a storey of a Corinthian order, surmounted by an attic ; the whole set back to preserve the terraces on the garden front. He then pulled down the rich upper part of Bullant's pavilion, replacing it by a Corinthian order with attic and balustrade ; and then finished the corresponding pavilion on the north, and united it with the pavillon de Marsan, of which he was also the author.
In 1664 he furnished a project for the eastern façade of the Louvre. This was sent to Italy, and discussed by the best architects there, who rejected it with some warmth. Bernini was then summoned from Rome. And it is fortunate for France that before the foundations were even above ground, Bernini, irritated by the severe criticism his plans encountered, returned to Italy, laden with money and brevêts, leaving his favourite pupil Rossi behind, who was soon induced—by what means it is not known—to follow his master. Paris was thus spared the abominable disfigurement of such a plan as Bernini's. And in 1667 Le Vau was again summoned to discuss with Le Brun and Perrault the latter's project for the Colonnade of the Louvre. They how-ever co d not agree. And the King finally chose Perrault's design.
Meanwhile, in 1665, Le Vau had been at work at Versailles, here he added two pavilions and an Orangery to the old buildings. He also built a number of hotels in Paris. In the provinces he constructed the buildings at Vincennes, now used as the officers' quarters. The Chateaux de Seig elay, du Raincy, and du Saint-Sépulcre near Troyes. And in 1668 the enormous works were begun, which were to transfo m the hunting lodge of Louis XIII. into the palace of Louis XIV., and the seat of court and government. He died at he Hotel de Longueville in October, 1670.
PERRAULT, CLAUDE (b. Paris, 1613 ; d. 1688).-Under the fin engraving of Perrault by Edelinck, the physician-archite t is glorified in a quaint quatrain :
" Il n'est point de secret dans la Nature entière,
The intelligent face with firm yet sympathetic mouth, gives a distinctly attractive impression of the man. Son of Pierre Perrault, Parliamentary barrister, Claude studied mathematics, then medicine, which he practised, and finally architecture, for which he had a most pronounced taste.
When in 1664 Colbert became " surintendant des Batiments," he and the King determined to give a definitive shape to the various projects and designs for the completion of the Louvre. Le Vau's plans for the eastern façade did not seem to the worthy of the majesty of the edifice. A model on a large s' ale was made in wood and stucco by Colbert's orders, exquisitely finished with painting and gilding. And all competent architects were called in to examine it, and present their plans and suggestions for its completion. None of the plans wholly satisfied the King and Colbert. They therefore sent to Rome for Bernini, who had just completed the Colonnade of St. Peter's. Before Bernini's arrival, however, Claude Perrault through his brother Charles, the author of the delightful Contes, and " premier commis de la surintendance des batiments," sent in his plan to Colbert. It was at first rejected. He then altered it and submitted it to Le Brun and Le Vau. But the three were unable to agree.
Meanwhile, Bernini had returned to Rome, and soon Charles Perrault contrived—it is a little doubtful what means were employed—to induce the favourite pupil, Rossi, to follow him—leaving merely the foundations of Bernini's enormous and utterly incongruous building, which would have necessitated the destruction of the greater part of Le Mercier and Lescot's buildings.
Colbert now returned to the French schemes, and chose two—that of Le Vau, who was now more popular than ever, after the defeat of the Italians, and the plan by Perrault. After fresh alterations by Perrault, both projects were presented to Louis XIV., by Colbert, who favoured Perrault's, and therefore recommended Le Vau's, but in such a manner as to give his master the honour of choosing the other. The King, finding Perrault's design " handsomer. and more majestic " than Bernini's, adopted it ; and the work was instantly begun.
Had the scheme been carried out in its entirety, it would have been much richer and more varied than it is. As it was, great difficulty was experienced in joining it on to the existing buildings of Le Vau. It was too high and too long. So they had to be added to. It overlapped by 36 feet at each end. The northern projection was allowed to remain. But in order to bring the southern angle into line, a whole new front along the river face—the existing river front—was added to Le Vau's fine façade, as far as the Petite Galerie.
In 1667 the main work of the Colonnade was finished. But the pediment was not placed until 1674. The works were all carried out under the direction of d'Orbay, Le Vau's son-in-law. The river face was finished in 1680. But it was not covered in, and Le Vau's domes showed behind the new buildings. There was no sculpture, and the roofless buildings remained in this condition till 1755, like some palace stricken with sleep by the enchanter's wand in one of Charles Perrault' Contes. All money, all energy, had been diverted from the ouvre to Versailles.
In 168 Perrault drew up plans for the Observatoire and its great staircase, finished in 1675. And in 1669 competed with Le Brun and Le Vau for the designs of the Arc de Triomphe for the place du Trône. His plans were chosen ; and he began the work in 1670. But it was only completed as' far as the pedestals of the columns. The rest, which was in plaster, fell into ruin ; and the whole thing, which was engraved by Sebastien Leclerc, was swept away in 1710.
Ferra It contributed certain portions to various churches, but these have been mostly destroyed. The Colonnade of the Louvre, and the Observatoire are his `greatest titles to fame. Abut 1668 he was made Architecte du Roi ; and elected a member of the Academy of Architecture in 1673. He died in 1688. I e published a Vitruvius in 1674 ; and L'ordonnance des cinq espèces de Colonnes in 1683.
MAROT , JEAN I., Architect and Engraver (b. Paris, 1619 or 1620 ; d. 1679),—was the son of Girard Marot, a cabinet maker. I e built in Paris, the front of the Church of the Feuillantines ; the Hotels de Passort ; de Mortemart, rue St. Guillaume; de Monceaux ; and the Maison Roland, rue de Cléry. In the provinces, the Chateaux of Tourny (Yonne), de Lavardin (Maine), and the fountains (bains) of the Chateau de Maisons. With Lemercier he made a project for the completion of the Louvre. This was rejected. But it was e graved by him, as well as his other works. In 1669 he made a contract for four grottos at the Chateau of Saint Germain—two for the apartments of Mademoiselle de la Vallière, and two for those of Mme. de Montespan at a cost of 400 livres.
Marot left a considerable work as an engraver. His chief publcations are Le Magnifique Chateau de Richelieu (see Lemercier). L'Architecture Française, in which his son Daniel collaborated—it only appeared in 1727. And Le Petit Marot, published in 1764. Daniel Marot left France for Holland, and attached himself to William Prince of Orange, laying out the gardens of the Hague and Loo ; and when the Prince succeeded as William III. to the English throne, Marot went to London and laid out the gardens of Hampton Court.
BRUANT, Or BRUAND, LIBERAL (b. about 1635 ; d. Paris, 1697).—Son of Sebastien Bruant and brother of Jacques I. Libéral Bruant belonged to a family of architects. In 1663 he was already architecte du roi. And in 1670 succeeded his father as " maître général des oeuvres de charpenterie du roi," receiving from 1671 to 1680, 1600 livres a year, as well as 500 as architect.
He made the plans and drawings for the Hotel des Invalides, of which the first stone was laid in November, 1671. And also for the Church of the Invalides, of which he built the Choir and Nave. The north façade and the Dome were built by Mansart, who also made alterations in the plan of the buildings. In the same year he furnished the first plans for the Place Vendôme, and began the works there. But here again Mansart succeeded him in 1685, when all the plans were changed. In 1662 Bruant furnished the plans and designs for Richmond Palace in England, for the Duke of York. He was made a member of the Academy of Architecture at its foundation in December, 1671. And in his acte de décés in 1694 is qualified as escuyer, conseiller, secrétaire du roi et architecte ordinaire des batiments de sa Majesté.
MANSART, JULES B. HARDOUIN (b. Paris, 1646 ; d. Marly, 1708).—Son of Raphaël Hardouin, painter in ordinary, and Marie Gauthier, niece of François Mansart,' J. B. Hardouin studied with his uncle and took his name. And on François Mansart's death in 1661, he worked upon the Hotel de Vendôme under Libéral Bruant.
It was in 1672 that the King remarked him at work in the Place Vendôme. His father presented him, and he asked for permission to compete for the plans of Clagny for Mme. de Montespan. Mansart's plans were chosen, but he did not begin Clagny (now destroyed) until 1676. Mansart now began his works of destruction, starting with the Palace of 'Saint Germain-en-Laye, where he made profound alterations. Five enormous pavilions replaced the charming tourelles of Pierre de Chambiges, and he also built the great terrace on the north. These works went on till 1682. In the next year, 1675, Mansart was admitted to the Academy, and appointed Architecte du Roi.
In 1678 he finished the petit chateau, the ménagerie, and the house of la Quintinie, head gardener, at Versailles. And in 1679 began the great works of the Palace of Versailles, the façade on the garden being finished in 1680. The grand escalier, the grand commun, and the stables were finished in 1685. The Orangerie was built in 1688. And the Grand Trianon, with the exception of the Colonnade, in the saine year. The original Chateau of Louis XIII. was preserved—the brick and stone hunting lodge built by Lemercier. This now forms the central part of the Palace, known as the Cour de Marbre. But it is completely enveloped and overshadowed by Mansart's enormous buildings. Some extremely interesting pictures preserved in the Museum, and engravings by Israël Silvestre, enable us to follow the successive trans-formations which the Chateau and the Park underwent.
Le Vau had been working upon Versailles since 1669, when Louis XIV. determined to make it the principal Royal residence. And from 1678 Mansart continued these important constructions, destroying, or modifying, as was his wont, much of his predecessor's work. It was in 1682 that the King definitively transferred the seat of government to Versailles. But notwithstanding the presence of the Court and the government, the building went on without cessation.
In 1684 Le Vau's original Grotte d'Apollon was demolished, to make room for the new north wing. The famous groups by Girardon of the " Roi-Soleil " served by nymphs, and the horses of his chariot stabled below—were moved to their present position. But the " Bosquet " in which they stand,. was made a hundred years later from Hubert Robert's designs. It was about 1690 that the exterior of the Chateau assumed the form we know. The Chapel was begun by Mansart in 1699, the foundations having been laid ten years before ; and was finished by Robert de Cotte in 1710.
Mansart's activity however was not confined to Versailles. In 1680 he rebuilt the façade and two galleries of the Chateau de Dampierre. (This magnificent building has. been restored by its owner, the duc de Luynes.) He began Marly for the King, who also ennobled him in this same year under the title of Comte de Sagonne. From 1684 to 1686 he built Notre Dame de Versailles. The Maison des. Lazaristes. Began the Pont Royal. Built St. Cyr. The Place des Victoires. And undertook the building, on new plans, of the Place Vendôme, which had been begun by Bruant. These two Places are the best examples of Mansart's invention, which became, as I have said, so popular in all European cities ; namely, the construction of a whole series of Hotels on a uniform plan, which causes them to look like one great Palace. " Having at Versailles reduced " the architecture of a palace to that of a street, he next " tried to elevate the architecture of a street to that of a. " palace."' This deception did not find favour with French architects, and was seldom if ever attempted in French cities after the reign of Louis XIV.
Mansart seems to have been an excellent man of business. as far as his own fortunes were concerned. For in 1687 he sold his position as controller of the Royal buildings to his cousin, Jacques Jules Gabriel. His salary in 1691 was raised to 12,000 livres. And in 1699, when he was made surintendant des Batiments in place of the Marquis de Villacerf—a position already held by Colbert and Louvois—he sold it within two months to François Blondel, councillor to the King, for 130,000 livres.
The most important works of the last fifteen years of his life were : ---
The great Gallery for the duc d'Orléans, on the spot where the Theatre Français now stands. The Portail of the Invalides, and the Dome which was finished in 1707. The Chateau de Meudon, which he rebuilt for the Dauphin, having already made alterations there for Louvois. The lower part of the Cascade of St. Cloud, and the grand staircase of the Chateau. In 1700 he built the Chateau de Boufflers (Aisne) ; and his own Hotel in the rue de la Pompe at Versailles ; having the year before built himself a Hotel in Paris (rue des Tournelles). He also made journeys into the provinces, such as his visit to the duc de Lorraine at Nancy in 1701, for the beautifying of Nancy and Lunéville. And besides Hotels in Paris, gave plans for numberless buildings all over France, and even in Spain and Piedmont. Saint-Omer, Lyons, Chateau Gaillon, Rouen, and countless Chateaux testify to his boundless activity. While Chambord, alas ! bears the mark of his destructive energy. For he rebuilt the principal entrance, and furnished plans for the two avant-corps of the façade of the Place-des-Armes, on whose foundations the barracks of the Maréchal de Saxe were built at a later date.
LE NÔTRE (b. Paris, 1613; d. Tuileries,. 1700).-Any study of the artists who contributed to the splendours of the epoque of Louis XIV. would be incomplete without mention of the celebrated Le Nôtre. Architecte et dessinateur du jardin du roi, he was the son of Jean le Nôtre, the King's chief gardener. Le Nôtre was well known on both sides of the Channel. He began by designing the park and gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte for Fouquet, and made the grotto and cascades. These works introduced him to the notice of Louis XIV., who took him into his service. The parks and gardens of Versailles, which had been begun under Louis XIII. by Boyceau, were now entrusted to Le Nôtre, who laid them out much as we see them now; though some alterations and additions were made in the eighteenth century under the direction of Hubert Robert. Le Nôtre .also had charge of the arrangements of the parks and gardens of the other Royal Palaces, and created the gardens of the Tuileries. He laid out numbers of gardens and parks in France, England, Prussia and Italy, thus leaving his mark in the " French Garden " that became so popular in the greater part of Europe for nearly a century. Already councillor of the King, and controller-general of buildings, arts and manufactures in France, the King ennobled him and gave him the cross of Saint Michel in 1675. Le Nôtre died at the Tuileries, aged eighty-seven, and was buried in the Church of Saint-Roch close by.
ANGUIER, FRANCOIS, dit L'AINÉ (1604-12 (p), 1669) ; MICHEL (1614, 1686). — The documents relating to the early history of François Anguier are not satisfactory. He studied under Simon Guillain ; and it is said that he spent two years in Italy. The date of his birth is quite undetermined, some giving it as 1604, some as 1612. He however first appears in France about 1645, with a well-established reputation ; as he was at once entrusted with important works. These were the tombs of Henri II., de Montmorency, beheaded in 1632, of Jacques-Augustin de Thou, of the duc de Chabot-Rohan, of the Cardinal de Bérulle, etc.
In 1652 he was working on decorations in the Louvre for the Queen-Mother. François Anguier belonged to the Maitrise, and always refused to enter the Academy. But though " he was not an Academician, he is very academic ". He was willing to use the whole mythologic and allegoric apparatus of the day—Hercules and Fames —his soldiers all dressed in Roman costumes, while they fight modern battles—as in the monument to Henri de Longueville (Louvre). In fact ".he is as decorative, sometimes as " theatrical as anyone else of the time ". In the fine tomb of Montmorency — with its two Corinthian orders, its sarcophagus, its Hercules and Alexander, Montmorency dressed as a Roman leaning on a Classic trophy, the duchess in a conventional dress—we are very far away from reality, and from all real sentiment. It is "religious art," after the manner of Vouet or Bourdon. In the Rohan-Chabot tomb (Versailles) he has chosen the nude for the principal personnage. But you feel that this is not the penetrating naturalism of certain of the funeral monuments of the Renaissance, but the nude of the model. In one of Anguier's works, however, we get a most remarkable departure from this academic treatment. In the lovely, kneeling figure of Gasparde de Châtre, second wife of de Thou (Louvre), the sculptor has frankly cast aside all mannerisms, and given himself honestly and wholly to reality. And thereby he has produced one of the most pure and charming works of art of the century.
Michel Anguier is more celebrated than his brother. His life was longer, as he only died in 1686, thus belonging to the most brilliant portion of the reign of Louis XIV. He spent ten years in Rome ; and to Rome his work owes much. When about 1652 he returned to Paris, he brought with him casts from the Laocoon, the Wrestlers, etc. The lengthy list of his works from 1652 to 1660, show that he was held in high esteem, and that he worked with remarkable facility. We find him at Saint Mandé and later at Vaux, with Fouquet—at the first Chateau sculpturing a Charity, the likeness of Mme. Fouquet and her two children —" pour marquer la tendresse et l'union qui régnaient dans " cette famille ".
He was a favourite of Anne of Austria. And in 1655 he contributed the sculptures to the decoration of her apartments on the ground floor of the Petite Galerie of the Louvre, Romanelli and Pietro Sasso doing the paintings and the stucco work. These apartments are now the Galeries des Antiques, and their decoration merits close attention, for—with the Galerie d'Apollon—they are intact ; and are as admirable examples of the pagan ideal of the decorative art, as Mme. Fouquet and her children, or the Montmorency tomb, are of the religious art of the period. After 1660 Michel still worked for Anne of Austria, not at the Louvre, but at Val-du-Grace. To his chisel also are due the high reliefs on the Porte St. Denis, and some of the decorations at Versailles. A very fine little Hercules and Atlas' in terra-cotta by Michel Anguier is now in the Louvre ; and a graceful Amphitrite.
The Anguiers exercised a considerable influence on the Sculpture of the period, first by their own works, then through their pupils, among whom were Regnaudin, Van Clève, Girardon, and the Marsys. It has been said they form the transition between the first and second halves of the century ; belonging to the time of Anne of Austria, Mazarin, and the early days of Le Brun. And they may well be looked on as the masters of the decorative school of sculpture.
Examples. François Anguier :
Monument of Henri de Longueville, Louvre.
Tomb, Jacques-Auguste de Thou, Louvre.
Gasparde de la Châtre, femme de de Thou, Louvre. Tomb, Henri Chabot, duc de Rohan, from Church of the Celestins, Paris, Versailles.
Henri II., duc de Montmorency, in the Chapel of the Lycée, Moulins.
Michel Anguier :
Decorations, Galeries des Antiques, Louvre.
Hercules and Atlas, terra-cotta, Louvre.
Trophies in high relief, Porte St. Denis, Paris.
GUÉRIN, GILLES (b. 1606 ; d. 1678).-Though Gilles Guérin is in some degree one with the naturalistic movement of the Louis XIII. epoque, yet he belongs to both reigns, and partakes of the tendencies of both. An artist of very varied qualities—strong, and with undoubted originality—his merits have not been fully appreciated by posterity. In 1653 he executed for the city of Paris, a statue of the young Louis XIV. trampling the Fronde under foot. The marble statue is now at Chantilly. The only cast that was ever made of it is at Versailles. But long before this he had been employed by Richelieu and Mazarin.
Among his works are the Mausoleum of Henri II. de Condé, for the chapel of Valery en Gatinois. Part of the decorations at Maisons. The four figures of the children who hold up the curtains of the alcove in the King's bedroom, Louvre, are also his. So are the decorations of the Chateaux of Cheverny, du Fayel, and de Guermande. His portraits are fine. The kneeling figure of Charles, duc de Lavieuville (d. 1653) from the Church of the Minimes, now in the Louvre, is of great merit.
GIRARDON, FRANÇOIS (b. Troyes, 1628; d.1715).--François Girardon, destined to become the most docile interpreter of Le Brun's ideas, the chief of the pleiad of decorators of Versailles, in his earliest works shows his origin. He was a Champenois, son of Nicholas Girardon, a master-founder of Troyes. But once in Paris he soon shook off his provincialisms. An order from Chancellor Séguier for his chateau of St. Liébaut near Troyes, brought him rapidly to the front. He then obtained leave to go and study in Rome. On his re-turn in 1652, he quickly became Le Brun's homme de confiance, the sculptor who could most sympathetically translate the master's ideas. To this period is due the tomb of Jérôme Bignon, the King's librarian. Girardon then went back to Rome to collect works of art. On his return he was considered an important and thoroughly established artist.
In 1665 we find him employed with the two Marsys and Renaudin, upon the magnificent stucco sculpture of the ceiling in the Galerie d'Apollon. To stimulate their zeal, a prize of 300 golden crowns is offered them, which is awarded to Girardon. In 1669 he is commissioned to execute the colossal bronze of the King for the Place Vendôme. This was melted down at the Revolution, and only the little bronze model remains in the Louvre. It is marked by an imposing nobility. But Girardon did not venture to depart from the calm of his model, the Marcus-Aurelius in Rome. His two most famous works are the Mausoleum of Richelieu at the Sorbonne, which was erected in 1694 ; and the Rape of Proserpine in front of the Colonnade, Versailles, 1699. His most delicate chef d'oeuvre perhaps, is the bas relief of nymphs on the Fontaine de Diane.
Among his other works at Versailles are the famous group in marble of the Bains d'Apollon, where at the entrance of her palace, the six attendant nymphs of Thetis serve the Sun god when he returns to rest each evening, while the horses of his chariot are stabled in a grotto below. It was sculptured in 1672, and " le roi soleil " poses as Apollo. The charming fontaine de la Pyramide, with its tritons, dolphins and cray-fish sculptured in lead, is also Girardon's work. It is uncertain whether the model of an equestrian statue of Louis XIV. in zinc, in the ( il de Boeuf, Versailles, is due to Girardon or Desjardins. With slight variations, it recalls the latter artist's statue for the city of Lyons, and Girardon's famous statue of the Place Vendôme. But the King has grown sad and old, the face spread, the eyes encircled with wrinkles. There is also a fine bust of Lamoignon in terra-cotta by Girardon, at Versailles.
The Museum of Troyes owns some of his best works :—Marble bas relief from the tomb of Mme. de Lamoignon.
Bust of Louis XIV. (marble).
Bust of Marie Thérèse (marble).
Bas relief (bronze), St. Charles communiant les pestiférés, from Church of St. Nicholas du Chardon-net, Paris.
A crucifix for his native country has remained the acknowledged model for crucifixes in wood, bronze and ivory.
Mausoleum of Louvois by Girardon and Van Cleeve, now in the Church of the Civil Hospital, Tonnerre.
Bust of Louvois, Louvre.
Of the Mausoleum to his wife only a very mediocre Pieta remains in the Church of Ste. Marguerite, rue St. Antoine, Paris.
DESJARDINS, MARTIN (b. 1640; cl. 1694).—Desjardins, a man of considerable power and held in high esteem, may be considered Girardon's rival in talent and reputation. Much of his admirable work was done in bronze or gilded lead. Therefore much was melted down at the Revolution. This was the fate of the full length statue of the King in gilded lead, ordered by the duc de la Feuillade at his own cost for the place des Victoires. The six bas reliefs in bronze from its pedestal are now in the Louvre. They commemorate the Treaty with Spain. The Passage of the Rhine. The Conquest of Franche Comté, 1674. The peace of Nimeguen, 1678, etc. And " show a rare elegance of " hand and happy judgment in the composition ". Four slaves in bronze, which were grouped round the pedestal, are now let into the façade of the Hotel des Invalides. Desjardin's statue was inaugurated with great pomp in 1686, preceding Girardon's for the place Vendôme by twelve years, and surpassing it in vigour of quality. Previous to this he had made the fine equestrian statue of the King for the Place de Bellecour at Lyons. Some authorities consider (see Girardon) that the model in zinc in the OEil de Boeuf (2194) at Versailles is a reduction of the Lyons Statue.
Desjardins was Rector of the Academy, and " Sculpteur du roi," at his death in 1694. His bust of Ed. Colbert, Marquis de Villacerf,' and the admirable bust of Mignard, of firm and yet impetuous execution, show that he knew when necessary how to treat the portrait with magisterial authority.
Portrait bust, Pierre Mignard, 654.
Portrait, Ed. Colbert, Marquis de Villacerf, 653.
Six bas reliefs from Statue of Louis XIV., Place des Victoires.
Marble bas relief, Hercules crowned by Glory. Four slaves, bronze, Façade of Hotel des Invalides. Versailles :
Bronze bust (?), Chambre du roi, 2166.
Bas relief, plaster, Justice holding a medallion of Antoine d'Aubray, from the Oratoire, 477.
Model of Equestrian Statue Louis XIV. (?), 2194.
Diane chasseresse, Cabinet de Diane, Gardens.
At Versailles, in a fine portrait of Desjardins by Rigaud (3583), the sculptor presents himself with " superb assurance, " the face full and strong, the eye tranquil, draped in a great " blue cloak, which shows his lace collar, the right hand " leaning on a colossal bronze gilt head, the left on his hip, " holding a paper with a sketch. In the background, against " the evening sky, the monument of the Place des Victoires " is to be seen."
PUJET, PIERRE (b. Marseilles, 1622 ; d. 1694).-Pierre Pujet, a true Southerner, exuberant, emphatic, proud, is usually taken as the personification of all French Sculpture in the 17th century. But for those who esteem the inventive faculty and a sincere love of nature, as higher qualities than mere executive power and taste for the mise en scene, Coysevox will rank higher than his illustrious rival. And Coysevox was a purely French artist, while Pujet was the devotee of Italianism. If he shook himself free from Le Brun, it was only to fall under the over-mastering tyranny of Bernini. To the end of his restless life, Pujet remained the provincial—independent, disinterested, intolerant of the servile necessities of the life of Paris and the Court.
At Marseilles young Pujet was apprenticed to a builder of galleys, and was soon employed on their ornamentation. The fashion of the day was pompous figures in gilded wood on poop and prow. These were mostly made at Toulon ; and artists of considerable reputation worked upon them, as may be seen in the Musée de la Marine. Work being slack at Marseilles, young Pujet set out on foot to Genoa, then to Florence, and then to Rome. Here unfortunately he fell in with the mannerist, Pierre de Cortone ; and learnt from him the elements of decadent drawing, and deplorable formulas. This left an indelible mark on the young artist, which Jean de Bologne and Bernini were to complete. Happily there was good stuff underneath ; and in many cases Pujet rose high above the influences of the Roman and Bolognese schools.
In 1643 Pujet was back at Marseilles, working at the carving of galleys for his daily bread, and painting. Three years later he is again in Rome, and this time measures and draws from the antique. In 1649 he is once more in Toulon, carving in wood and stone, and painting very bad Holy pictures. But at last he gets his opportunity in an order for the Cariatides supporting the balcony of the Hotel de Ville, Toulon. A new idea of plastic art seizes him. He turns his cariatides, struggling under the weight of the balcony—into the porters on the quays who he has watched panting beneath their loads. They are magnificent in force and in reality. Had he only kept to such an ideal of work, what a new and splendid line of art might have opened before him. But Italy had laid too strong a hand on his talent, and tempted him back to the decadent Italian ideas of the 17th century.
Two works however, are in the same line of thought as the cariatides—Hercules overcoming the Hydra, and La Terre, for the Chateau de Vaudreuil. He had been enticed to Paris by M. Girardon, who carried him off to Normandy to execute these two important works. The Hercules, which was supposed to be lost, was found some years ago, broken and buried in the park ; and is now in the Musée de Rouen.
Fouquet, enthusiastic over these works, would have divers groups for Vaux. And he despatched Pujet to work at them at Genoa—notably the Hercule Gaulois (now in the Louvre). Here again we get no God, but sheer brute force. It is inferior to the Hercules of Vaudreuil, and far inferior to the figures at Toulon ; showing the growing influence of Italian formulas. Seriously affected by his patron Fouquet's disgrace, Pujet settled down for some years at Genoa, which were the happiest of his life. Here he sculptured the colossal St. Sebastien and St. Ambrose for Sta. Maria-in-Carignano, and a Conception for the Brignoli, which is now in the Albergo dei Poveri.
For ever restless, Pujet wanders back to France. He worked at Marseilles, Aix, Toulon ; and Colbert attached him to the Arsenal of Toulon as decorator of War Vessels. It has been commonly supposed that Pujet invented this style of decoration. This, however, is erroneous. It had come into fashion long before ; and was soon abandoned after England gave it up.
In 1671 Colbert ordered two marble groups, the Milo of Crotona, and the Alexander and Diogenes, for Versailles. Upon the first of these Pujet worked for four years with extreme enthusiasm. But as he was only considered a provincial sculptor, Colbert refused to pay him more than 6000 livres for it. The matter hung on for years ; and when at last the group was sent from Toulon by sea to Le Havre, the captain of the vessel refused to take it for less than 12,000 livres. This was in 1684. Colbert had died the year before. Le Brun, enchanted with the work, wrote enthusiastically to Pujet. And the King demanded a pendant—the Perseus and Andromeda, which was finished in the same year. In 1687 the Alexander and Diogenes was finished, and taken to Paris in 1694. This famous bas relief has been called " the triumph of picturesque sculpture ". " If the great Pujet," cries Eugène Delacroix, " had possessed as much wit as vigour " and science—qualities with which his work abounds—he " would have perceived before ever he took his tool in hand " that his subject was one of the strangest that could be " chosen for sculpture. In this mass of men, arms, horses, " and even buildings, he has forgotten that he could not " introduce the most essential actor—that ray of sunlight " which Alexander intercepts, and without which the composition has no meaning." It is, however, a very fine and vigorous piece of work.
Perseus and Andromeda.
Milo of Crotona.
Alexander and Diogenes (bas relief).
Hercule de Vaudreuil, Musée de Rouen.
Peste de Milan (relief), Marseilles.
Medallion of Louis XIV., Musée de Marseilles.
This latter is a magnificent work, only surpassed as a portrait of the King by the wax by Benoist, at Versailles.
St. Sebastien and St. Ambrose, Sta. Maria-in-Carignano, Genoa.
Conception, Albergo dei Poveri, Genoa.
COYSEVOX, ANTOINE (pronounce Coëzevau) (b. Lyons, 1640 ; d. Paris, 1720).-A Lyonnais, robust, fearless, enter-prising. In Antoine Coysevox we find the solidity of the Burgundian united to the enterprise and animation of the southerner. He not only displayed the fine intelligence of the artist, the marvellous skill of the practitioner, but in the fullest sense of the word he was an upright man. " It " would be difficult to find a nobler life, a career better "employed, and a more entire professional dignity."
At seventeen Coysevox was already in Paris, completing his artistic education in the studio of Lerambert, one of Guillain's best pupils. There he remained for ten years. In 1666 he married Lerambert's niece, who died a year after her marriage. And in the certificate of her death it is stated that Coysevox had that year been appointed Sculpteur du roi. In the same year, 1667, after working at the Louvre he was summoned to Saverne by the Cardinal de Furstenberg, to decorate his sumptuous palace. This was destroyed by fire in 1780. But we know that Coysevox contributed figures, friezes, and ornaments of the grand staircase. In 1671 he returned to Paris with a brilliant reputation. Le Brun was at the apogee of his power ; and the young master was already on intimate terms with him, as is shown by the bust of Le Brun, which served as Coysevox's reception work when he entered the Academy in 1676. In this year he returned for a time to Lyons ; and thought of remaining there as Director of the new School of Design, founded under the patronage of the Paris Academy. It was probably at this moment that he executed the lovely Vièrge de la rue du Bat-d'Argent, now in the Church of St. Nizier. Here also he married his compatriote, Claude Bourdiet, in 1677.
Le Brun, however, persuaded him to return to Paris. He obtained him lodgings in the Gobelins ; and entrusted him with important works at Versailles between 1677 and 1685. Here Coysevox showed a prodigious activity. To him are due the decorations of the Salon d'Apollon, the Salon de la Guerre, and the Galerie des Glaces. The twenty-four exquisite groups of children along the cornice in the latter, and the matchless " chutes de trophées " in gilt bronze on marble, which constitute " the most magnificent " decorations in the world," were all, if not actually executed by his hand, carried out under his direction. To find anything to compare with his bas relief in stucco of the triumphant young King, with the superb attendant bronze figures, and the Fame below, in the Salon de la Guerre, we must go back to Jean Goujon.
But Coysevox's work was not confined to the interior of the Chateau. He composed groups, and sculptured marvellous vases for the bosquets and terraces. He was employed besides at Trianon, in ornaments of pilasters and tympanums. Then at the Invalides. Later at Marly, where his creative genius had full scope. And between whiles he produced " delightful and personal imitations of the antique," such as his " Nymphe â la Coquille " and the " Vénus pudique ".
At Versailles, outside the Chateau on the Parterre d'Eau, we find the Garonne and the Dordogne, in bronze, cast by Keller. And the great marble Vase on the Terrace, commemorating the " Submission of Spain, and the Defeat of the Turks in Hungary ". This is a magnificent work of art. The handles of a grinning satyr's head with goat's horns and crowned with ivy, are marvels of vigour and beauty of chiselling.
On the destruction of Marly at the Revolution, its treasures were dispersed. Happily most of those by Coysevox were saved. His winged horses, bearing Fame and Mercury, had already been placed in 1719 at the grilles of the Tuileries, where Coustou's famous " Chevaux de Marly " were put opposite to them in 1793. Coysevox's allegoric groups of Neptune and the Seine were given to the town of Brest. And his Flora, Hamadryad, and Berger Fluteur (now in the Louvre) were placed in the gardens of the Tuileries. His works at Marly were very unequal. Indeed it is probable that some attributed to him were executed by pupils. In portraiture Coysevox reveals himself as great a master as in decorative sculpture. In the Comptes des Batiments at Versailles we find that his first portrait busts of the King and the Dauphin were in 1679. Numerous busts of the King, the Queen, and Monseigneur follow. One (789), larger than nature, remains of the King, in the rez de chaussez at Versailles. Of this M. de Nolhac says, " What pride, what authority in this nobly '" energetic head, and how one feels that this superb expression could only belong to the one and only Coysevox " ! One of the two busts of the Dauphin, sculptured either in 1679 or 1682, is preserved in the Salon de Diane. He also made an equestrian statue of the King for the Etats de Bretagne at Rennes. And for the Échevins de Paris a full length statue, which is now in the Cour d'Honneur of the Hotel Carnavalet. His bronze bust of the Grand Condé, now in the Louvre, is a magnificent work of art. Coysevox returned many times to that strange and disquieting physiognomy—the face as of a bird of prey, of the Victor of Rocroy. Of these a bust and a medallion at Versailles are chef d'oeuvres. In all these portraits we find vigour, precision, acuteness.
If Colbert and Louvois, Le Brun and Mansart practically made his fortune, Coysevox was great artist enough to be able to free himself, when necessary, from those tendencies ,of which they were the high priests. And one of his highest titles to honour is that he remained through life true to national ideals—that he never allowed his purely French genius to be affected by Italy or any other outside influence. Both in portraiture and in decoration he is one of the chief masters of the French School—one of those whose talent is the most varied, the most supple, the most abundant. The touch of his chisel is of incomparable skill.