Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Jean Baltazar Keller (1638 - 1702).
The Bronze Founder
by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659 - 1743)
With the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV by Girardon in the background.
The first equestrian statue cast in one piece in modern times.

How to Cast a Life Size Equestrian Statue - Made Easy.

How to Cast an Equestrian Statue in Bronze - Made Easy.
In French.
The Short version.
(published after 1771).
Excerpt from unidentified quarto re-edition of the Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Recueil de planches, vol. 8, originally published 1771. Diderot and Alambert.

The plates illustrated here and the Plates in the Diderot Alembert Encyclopaedia were copied and somewhat simplified from the originals from Boffrand.

These plates and their explanations are influenced heavily by the writing and descriptions of Germain Boffrand (1667 - 1754). Boffrand had served as the architect for many 18th-century French aristocrats, and had been a witness to the casting of Louis XIV's statue by Giradon and Jean-Balthazar Keller.
A pupil of Hardouin Mansart he published his influential Livre d'Architecture in 1745 see - https://archive.org/stream/gri_33125010919435#page/n7/mode/2up

 On hearing of the troubles Jean - Baptiste Lemoyne (1704 - 78) was having casting a similar statue of Louis XV, Boffrand sought to assist Lemoyne, recognising that he was the only remaining assistant who had been present and taken notes at the earlier casting by the Kellers.

Boffrand wrote his Description de ce qui a été Practiqué pour Fondre en Bronze d'un Seul Jet la Figure Équestre de Louis XIV, (see below) enabling Lemoyne to complete his work, although this statue was also later destroyed in the Revolution.  

These pages from -

The First published work on the subject of casting an equestrian statue in bronze in one piece is -
 Description de ce qui a été pratiqué pour fondre en bronze d'un seul jet la figure équestre de Louis XIV, élevée par la ville de Paris dans la place de Louis le Grand, en 1699…, by Germain Boffrand, Paris, Guillaume Cavelier, published in 1743.

The next published work is Description des travaux qui ont précédé, accompagné et suivi la fonte en bronze d'un seul jet de la statue équestre de Louis XV, le Bien-Aimé, Pierre Jean Mariette, published 1768.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV by Coysevox at Rennes

The Bronze Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
by Antoine Coysevox (1640 -1720).
Engraving below by Simon Thomassin (1655 - 1733).
465 x 340 mm.
Contracted 9 June 1686 for 90,000 Livres.
Arrived in Nantes 1716.
Erected in 1726 in the Place Royale in Rennes.
Destroyed in the French Revolution 1792.
The two bronze plaques on the plinth survive in the Rennes Museum.
One represents France Triumphant over the seas (see drawing below) the other the presentation to the King of Coysevox's project in the presence of the Siamese Ambassadors.
see Souchal, French Sculptors ....1977.

Engraving by Thomassin dated 1699.
Royal Collection
Anonymous Watercolour 45 x 29 cms
dated 1725.
Bibliotheque Rennes, Brittany.
Engraving after Huguet.
From a map of 1725.
Just to muddy the waters Sotheby's London sold a magnificent riderless bronze statuette which was attributed to Antoine Coysevox and described as 18th Century.
I am not entirely convinced. There are distinct similarities to the engraving above but the foliage on the base is not depicted in the Thomassin engraving. There is no provenance prior to 1791.
More work need to take place particularly close comparisons with other versions of the French equestrian statues of Louis XIV and Louis XV, before there is a definitive answer
The saddle cloth has been cast separately.
On a personal note if I could have any of the equestrian statuettes this is the one I would want.
Provenance - probably Joseph Depestre, Count of Seneffe and Turnhout, Château de Seneffe, Hainaut, Belgium, by 1791;
thence by descent to his heirs;
probably their sale, 24 October to 17 November 1825;
probably Viscount Mathieu Denis Claire Talon, Marquis of Boulay, until 1853;
by descent to Denis Gabriel Victor Talon and Marquise Carolina Sampieri, Villa Talon, Bologna, circa 1853;
and thence by family descent
A quote from Sotheby's Catalogue -
As few as four? versions of the present horse survive, of which only two measure an extraordinary 89 by 83 centimetres. The spectacular size of the present bronze as well as the rounded Baroque elegance and movement of the model have rightly led art historians to associate the model with a long-lost equestrian monument to Louis XIV that towered over the city of Rennes before the Revolution.
Both this bronze and the other large version were once in the possession of the noble Talon-Sampieri family of Italy and were probably inherited from their Belgian ancestor Joseph Depestre, the Count of Seneffe and Turnhout. The high regard in which the model has been held is illustrated by Depestre’s early inventories and estate sale catalogue: “Un Cheval de Bronze, dit le fameux cheval de bronze. Cette piece est unique par toutes ces perfections et beauté.”
My highlight!
For Sotheby's full Catalogue entry see -
The Sotheby's Catalogue suggests that the horse of the Equestrian statue in the Grunes Gewolbe, Dresden of Augustus the Strong is a version of this model but Francois Souchal in French Sculptors.....attributes it to Le Hongre. It was cast in two parts - the rider is a separate cast. see my blog entry for the Le Hongre statue at Dijon and its versions.

Reduced Model of the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV by Le Hongre for Dijon

The Reduced Bronze Models of the original Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV.
by Etienne Le Hongre (1628 - 1690). 
The Original constructed for La Place Royale at Dijon.
Commissioned by les Etats de Bourgogne and contracted on 18 May 1686, it was eventually erected on la Place d'Armes in front of the Logis du Roi in Dijon in 1748 (destroyed in 1792).

The model was completed and the cast is taken immediately afterwards in 1690 the year of the death of Le Hongre.
In 1692, the statue was transported by boat along the rivers Seine and Yonne to Auxerre. The poor state of the roads and the weight of the two pieces of bronze sculpture halted the journey.
The statue and the horse were then stored in a barn in the village of La Brosse for 27 years. Is was only in 1720 that it was to be successfully transported to Dijon, where it was then stored in the Courtyard of the Logis du Roi. 
There was a wait another four years until a decision was made regarding  the design of the pedestal . Jacques - Ange Gabriel, architect in  ordinary to the King, completed the design in 1725, but the décoration of the base was not completed, and surrounded by railings until 1742, the commemorative inscriptions were not completed until 1747. A space of  62 years between inception and completion!
Design by Harduin Mansart

Image result for Place Royale Dijon
Jean Baptiste Lallemand, 1781
Musee des Beaux Arts Dijon
 The Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
A late 17th Century reduced cast attributed to Etienne Le Hongre.
48 x 37 cms
Musee de Dijon.
Drawing by Edme Bouchardon for the projected pedestal for the Dijon statue dated 1724.
Musee de Dijon
Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
by Etienne Le Hongre (1628 - 90)
Bronze: High. 34.5 Long. 32 width. 15 cm.  
Base: High. 10.5 Long. 28 width. 15.5 cm.  High. total: 45 cm.  (Queue and right guide restored, repaired patina).
Provenance :  The family of the architect of the Place Royale, Dijon - Martin Durey Count Noinville (Paris, c 1658 - Dijon, 1728.), Architect of the Royal Place, Dijon. - For descendants of Alix Durey Noinville wife Octave Raguenet Saint-Albin, 17 rue d'Illiers Orleans, 1882. - By descent, private collection, Orleans.

 This version sold at Auction by SVV Rouillac.  Sunday, June 7. 2014 Château d'Artigny, Montbazon (Indre-et-Loire).
Photographs courtesy Messrs Rouillac.
 Another version of this bronze statuette of Louis XIV
by le Hongre
at the Chateau of Versailles.
45.5 x 35 cms

Described as 'Réduction de la statue équestre du roi commandée par les Etats de Bourgogne le 18 mai 1686, érigée sur la place d'Armes de Dijon seulement en 1748 (détruite en 1792)- bronze fin 17e siècle'
This statuette was acquired by Versailles in 2009 - the Versailles Collection website states that the State of Burgundy commissioned an Equestrian Statue of the king from the sculptor Etienne le Hongre to be cast by the founders Aubry et Scabol, a statuette was placed in the collection of the King's bronzes in the centre of the Oval Room at Versailles.
 Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV.
Prado Museum Madrid.
108 x 87 cms
The say Early 18th Century - Studio of Girardon.
But there are obvious differences - particularly the sword and saddle.
Noted in the inventory of Felipe V, La Granja, 1746.
It is ascribed to Le Hongre by Souchal in French Sculptors .......
Copyright ©Museo Nacional del Prado.
This Version formerly with Tomasso Brothers dealers of Leeds and London
attributed to le Hongre.

Various other versions of Le Hongres version of the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV exist.
Augustus the Strong in the Green Room (Grunes Gewolbe) in Dresden.
Cast from a model by Le Hongre but the head replaced with that of Augustus.
Acquired in Paris in 1716 by Raymond le Plat
Poor low res photograph from
This pre war photograph taken before the destruction of the original stand. The bronze slaves survived.
An Eighteenth Century Riderless Bronze Equestrian Statuette.
Sotheby's London sold a superb  riderless equestrian statuette on 8 July 2015, lot 29.
attributing it to Coysevox and dating it to the late 18th century. 
The saddle cloth has been cast separately.
83 x 87 x 31 cms.
Provenance -

probably Joseph Depestre, Count of Seneffe and Turnhout, Château de Seneffe, Hainaut, Belgium, by 1791; thence by descent to his heirs;
Probably their sale, 24 October to 17 November 1825; probably Viscount Mathieu Denis Claire Talon, Marquis of Boulay, until 1853; by descent to Denis Gabriel Victor Talon and Marquise Carolina Sampieri, Villa Talon, Bologna, circa 1853; and thence by family descent.


Roman Marble Equestrian Statue of Caligula, British Museum.

Roman Marble Equestrian Statue of Caligula,
British Museum.
Height 2.05 metres approx.
second century AD.
The statue was found in or near Rome in the sixteenth century, was then restored by Giacomo della Porta, and from 1652 stood in the Palazzo Farnese. Restorations include the youth's arms and three of the horse's legs. Purchased from the King of Naples in 1864.
When the sculpture first entered the Museum it was identified as a portrait of the emperor Caligula or Gaius (AD 37-41) in his youth. Later it was thought that the head might not belong to the body, and that the body itself dated to the mid-later second century, representing, perhaps, one of the imperial princes of that period. During recent cleaning, however, it was observed that the marble of the head of the youth and the unrestored parts of the horse were the same.
This information and images from the British Museum
Portrait of Gaius (Caligula), whole-length, on horseback, directed to the left, head nearly in profile to the right, holding trident in his right hand and arrow-shaped obejcts in his left hand; seashore behind.<br/>Engraving and etching

Crispjan de Passe.
Before 1600.
150 x 105 mm
British Museum.
In the foreground, statue of Caligula on horseback, in full armour, wearing the winged hat of Mercury, holding the thunderbolts of Zeus and the trident of Poseidon; pedestal decorated with the scene of his murder and another cartouche depicting a bedchamber with a naked male lying on a pile of coins; behind, troops assemble along a coastline, three ships at sea  Engraving
Adrian Collaert
c 1587 - 89
323 x 217 mm.
British Museum.
Bust portrait in an oval.  Mezzotint
John Faber the elder.
349 x 249 mm.
Early 18th Century

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Reduced Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV Girardon, Louvre, Paris, and Engravings of the Original in the Place Vendome (Place Louis le Grand) and other versions.

A Reduced Copy of the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
by Francois Girardon (1628 - 1715).
The Original was set up in the  Place Vendome
( formerly Place Louis le Grand)  in 1699.
The original 17 metres tall. 
This signed Statuette is now in the Louvre, Paris.
Confiscated from the Royal Collection.
In 1685, Louis XIV's war minister, the marquis de Louvois, adopted a group of speculators' idea of creating a new square in Paris. The square was created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and in its center stood a bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV by Girardon standing seven meters high (around seventeen meters with the pedestal). This square was later to become the Place Vendôme.

To please Louis XIV, the Duc de La Feuillade had proposed the erection of a monumental full-scale statue of the king, commissioned from the sculptor Martin Desjardins. To provide a setting for the work, he redeveloped the Place des Victoires, which celebrated the king's victories in the Dutch war ending in the peace treaty of Nijmegen (1679).
This initiative was followed up in 1685 by the Marquis de Louvois, the war minister under Louis XIV, who persuaded the king to create a "Place des Conquêtes" on the site of the Hôtel de Vendôme. Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect behind the Place des Victoires and who had just designed the Château and Orangerie at Versailles, was responsible for the design of this square. To surpass the rival square in magnificence, an equestrian statue was to be erected, commissioned from an even more prestigious sculptor than Desjardins: François Girardon, to be cast in one piece by Baltazar Keller.
In 1792, Girardon's sculpture was destroyed. The piece in the Louvre is the only signed reduced version of the work.
'Aujourd'hui plusieurs versions du XVIIIème siècle sont connues ; mentionnons particulièrement celles conservées au Musée du Louvre, au château de Vaux-le- Vicomte, au Musée de l'Hermitage de Saint-Pétersbourg, à la Wallace Collection de Londres, au Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York ; enfin citons un exemplaire, portant la marque du C couronné, acquis par George IV à Paris en 1817 et faisant partie des collections royales anglaises'

Size 1.02 m; W. 0.98 m; D. 0.50 m
These photographs and text lifted from - http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/louis-xiv-horseback
Reduced Bronze Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV.
in the Royal Collection.
The base lacks the shield shown in the above models but this version accords with the mid 18th Century engraving after Lesueur by Pierre Francois Tardieur (1711 - 71) shown below.
105.5 x 92.0 x 50.0 cm
Equestrian statue of Louis XIV in Roman armour, on a rectangular naturalistic base with canted corners. The statue is mounted on an ebony-veneered pedestal with gilt bronze mounts ordered from the firm of Thomire et Cie. in 1826. The sides of the pedestal are set with framed reliefs after compositions by Adam Frans van der Meulen (1632-1690) of Louis XIV Crossing the Rhine (11 June 1672), and the Capture of Valenciennes, (16 March 1677). Martial trophies are applied to the ends of the pedestal, and at the four corners are figures of Virtues.
This is a cast from the small-scale model prepared by Francois Girardon for the colossal statue which was cast in a single pour by Balthasar Keller in 1692 and installed in the Place Louis-le-Grand (Place Vendome) in Paris in 1699. The statue was destroyed in 1792. Several examples of the small version are known, some of which were cast at the time of the project and others later.
This example is thought to have been cast by Jean Le Pileur in around 1696 and given by the King to the marquis de Phelypeaux, Chancelier de Pontchartrain (1643-1727). Exhibition catalogue 'Cast in Bronze: French sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution' (Paris, New York and Los Angeles, 2008-9), no. 91B
Thought to have been given by Louis XIV to Louis, marquis de Phelypeaux, Chancelier de Ponchartrain; sold 1747 (marked in several places with the crowned 'C' stamp); De la Haye collection; sold December 1 1774, no. 74; bought for George IV in Paris in 1817 by François Benois, his pastry cook and agent, for 360 livres.
 In the Third Room of the Armoury at Carlton House. Delivered to Morel & Seddon for restoration in 1828 prior to delivery to the Large Dining Room (now the State Dining Room) at Windsor Castle.
This information and the photographs lifted from the Royal Collection website
The only fragment of the original statue to have survived after 1792.
The left foot.
Now in the Louvre.
The Bronze Statue of Louis XIV in this engraving of the Girardon Gallery would appear to be the version without the shield on the ground as shown in the engraving above.
Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
by Girardon
Pedestal by Slotz
Le Galerie de Girardon
Engraving by Nicolas Chevalier after Rene Charpentier
Met Museum. New York.
This represents the smaller version of the Place Vendome equestrian statue and is the statue installed in front of the Chateau du Boufflers in Beauvais, cast in 1694 at the request of Marechal de Boufflers and unveiled on 4th September 1701 (10 pieds tall).
see Souchal French Sculptors ....vol 2, 1981.
 Hubert Robert
Grande Gallery at the Louvre during restoration.
This shows the reduced version on its original stand
painted 1796 - 99.
The Wax Macquette of the Equestruian Statue of Louis XIV.
possibly by Girardon
A wax Macquette of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV by Francois Girardon.
 ca. 1685
Wax and wood
81.3 x 29.2 x 59.7 cm (32 x 11 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Fosburgh, B.A. 1933, M.A. 1935
Images Courtesy Yale University
with grateful thanks
British Museum.
Another version in the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
size - 109,2 x 111,7 x 80 cms.
Equestrian statue of Louis XIV; horse moving to r, Louis XIV facing r, seated holding reins with l hand and pointing behind with outstretched r arm Pen and black ink, with grey wash, over red chalk
Drawing by Pierre Le Pautre
405 x 257 mm.
British Museum.
The engraving below from -
Superficially the engraving above appears to be a version of the drawing but there are many differences including the details on the cuirasse and the tail as well as the obvious differences of the base.
Image result for rené-antoine houasse statue equestre louis xiv
Rene Antoine Houasse.
Musee Carnavelet, Paris

 Perspective view of place Louis le Grand (now place Vendôme): square lined with buildings, with equestrian statue of the King in the middle  Etching
Lettered with production detail: 'J. Rigaud Invenit et Sculp.', publication address and date: 'chez Rigaud Ruë St Jacques vis à vis la ruë des Maturins à Paris 1752', and title -1752
British Museum.
mains de peintre 062
Image result for La Place Vendome Paris gravure
Image result for vue La Place Vendome Paris gravure
Mid 18th Century Drawing by Cochin
Image result for Girardon Louvre Gallery
This version formerly at Versailles now in the Louvre.
No size given but again it appears to be a version of the cast without the shield on the base as illustrated in the Lesueur engraving above.
A 19th Century version from Houghton in Norfolk.
Lot 21, Christie's, 8 December 1994.
111 x 86 x 36 cms.
 The Houghton Statuette appears again at Sotheby's New York
Lot 13 - 24 May 2007.
A further provenance is given - it was in the possession of Sir Philip Sassoon Bt. at 25 Park Lane and recorded in two inventories of pre 1927 and 1939
see http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.13.html/2007/the-collection-of-mr-and-mrs-stephen-c-hilbert-important-french-and-english-furniture-n08383

Charles Yriarte, Catalogue de l’Exposition de l’art français sous Louis XIV et sous Louis XV. (L’hôtel Chimay, annexe de l’École des beaux-arts.) Au profit de l’Œuvre de l’hospitalité de nuit. Précédé d’une introduction par M. Ch. Yriarte, exh. cat. (Paris: École des Beaux-Arts, 1888), 36, no. 75.
Stanislas Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l’école française sous le règne de Louis XIV (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1906), 213.
Ulrich Thieme, Felix Becker, and Wilhelm Suida, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler (Leipzig, Germany: E.A. Seemann, 1921), 167–69.
Pierre Francastel, Girardon: Biographie et catalogue critiques. L’oeuvre complète de l’artiste reproduite en 93 héliogravures (Paris: Nogent-le-Rotrou, 1928), 55.
Galerie George Petit, Paris, Catalogue des objets d’art et d’ameublement principalement du XVIII siecle: tableaux anciens…Dessins Anciens et Moderns…Porcelaines de la Chine; Porcelaines de Sèvres, pâte tendre et da Saxe Bronzes - Objets variés…sculptures..sieges et meubles, sale cat. (December 1, 1930).
 Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris, Catalogue des tableaux anciens, dessins et aquarelles anciens, tableaux et gouaches modernes, bronzes de Barye, tre`s belles gravures anciennes, objets d’art et d’ameublement composant la collection du President Charles d’Heucqueville et dont la vente…, sale cat. (March 1936), 86, pl. XXXIII.
John Canaday, “Art: Acquisitions of Yale Gallery,” New York Times (January 10, 1961), ill.
 “La publication intégrale de l’inventaire des tableaux de Charles Ier (1639) par la Walpole Society,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1961): no. 10.
Donald Posner and Julius Held, 17th and 18th Century Art: Baroque Painting, Sculpture, Architecture (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1971), 170, fig. 176.
Katherine Neilson and Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, Selected Paintings and Sculpture from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), no. 123, ill.
Michel Martin, Les monuments équestres de Louis XIV : une grande entreprise de propagande monarchique (Paris: Picard, 1986), 92–117, fig. 40, 41.
Peter Burke, The Fabrication of Louis XIV (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), 92–93, fig. 35.
François Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries: The reign of Louis XIV/Illustrated catalogue, supplementary volume A-Z (London: Faber and Faber, 1993), 108–111, no. 65, ill.
also see -
Collectif, Bronzes français de la Renaissance au Siècle des Lumières, catalogue d'exposition, Paris, Musée du Louvre du 22 octobre 2008 au 19 janvier 2009, éd. Somogy, Paris, 2008
Robert Wenley, French Bronzes in the Wallace Collection, éd. The Trustees of the Wallace Collection, Londres, 2002
Not particularly relevant here but included as a matter of interest - two more of the engravings of the Gallerie Girardon.

Destruction of the statues of Louis XVI by Girardon in la place Vendôme and of Louis XIV by Desjardins in Place des Victoires.

Musee du Louvre, Paris.
Jacques Bertaux (c.1745 - 1818).
Note the left foot about to be rescued by the onlooker pointing to it on the left.
Louvre, Paris
The End.