This view of Paris, painted from one of the most important bridges of the 17th c. French capital, invites us to immerse ourselves in Parisian daily life and admire historical 17th c. Paris.
Like a photographer, the painter immortalizes the daily gathering moment on this bridge, which became a major artery under Louis XIV, a compulsory passage for solemn and royal processions, linking the two banks of Paris and on the way to Versailles.
The diving angle of view allows the spectator to put himself in the place of the painter, like an observer installed at the window of one of the buildings overlooking the bridge.
Facing the sunset that colors the sky and the clouds of shades of pink, the facade of the Louvre is bathed in a soft light.
The alignment of the houses and that of the long facade of the Louvre on both sides of the Seine, the alignment of the quays where many boats are moored draw a perspective on which stands out the statue of Henry IV and multiples scenes of which the Pont-Neuf itself is the theater.
In the center of the foreground, two richly dressed riders including one on a white horse, admire the show.
A rich coach drawn by two horses stops so that his noble passengers can enjoy the representation given.
At the left side, on a wooden stage, artists and musicians strive to please passers-by and walkers.
The crowd attracted by the promise of entertainment forms a barrier that prevents the coach from passing.
Fruit sellers linger near the stage.
The donkey loaded with big baskets filled with fruit remains wise while waiting for his owner turned back, overwhelmed by the spectacle.
Two kids taking advantage of the moment discreetly steal some fruits and the donkey doesn't seem to protest.
In the background, people seem to ignore the show and stray to their business, do not hesitate to do their needs at the sight of passersby. To the right of the bridge, another crew lingers, less classy than the preceding and on the right in the foreground, the tables are set on the trestles and the black-clad moneychanger and his employees focus on their pecuniary activities.
Below the Louvre, a collective swim takes place in the Seine.
In the midst of this animation and chaos, the majestic Henry IV mounted on his horse reigns over the bridge.
His equestrian statue, made by Joean de Bologne and Pietro Tacca, was inaugurated in 1614. The sculpture was framed by bars after 1667.
Our painting testifies to the architectural transformations changing the aspect of the capital during the 17th century.
The landscape depicted is that of the years 1665-1670, during which many monuments were under construction and renovation.
On the right bank, the southern facade of the Louvre, to the east of the Great Gallery, was realized by Le Vau for Louis XIV, about 1664; this facade did not please Colbert, appointed in 1664 Superintendent of the King's buildings, who had it rebuilt by Perrault around 1670. On the left bank, parallel to these constructions, the non-negotiable and often muddy strike that bordered the Seine was fortified and paved, becoming the quai Malaquais.
This painting draws our attention not only by its pleasant side, but especially by its documentary value on one of the most famous parts of the French capital in the second half of the 17th century and on activities that were practiced there.
Several views of the west of Paris from the Pont Neuf were painted in the 1670s by Hendrick Mommers, artist active in Paris, but of Nordic origin. His paintings "View of Paris from Pont Neuf" are currently in prestigious museums in France and abroad. A variant dated around 1665 is located in the Musée Carnavalet (inv page 646) and another in the Louvre Museum (inv.2161), another at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg (inv./cat.nr ??? - 1830 ) and antother one at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, England, inv./cat.nr BM162, dated 1668.
Hendrik Mommers, a genre painter and landscape painter, born in Haarlem around 1623 and buried in Amsterdam on December 21, 1693. Member of the guild of his hometown, he visited Italy, worked in Rome and left us mainly Italianistic landscapes, pastoral scenes, market scenes, in the style of Berchem and Cuyp. Seduced by the French capital, he made several "Views of Paris", his Parisian landscapes are mentioned in the inventories of 1653 and 1687. The first stay in Paris of Mommers dates from 1646.
Oil on canvas, signed "Mommers" lower left.
Canvas: Height 90 cm; Width: 131 cm
Frame: Height 106 cm; Width: 147 cm
Price : on request
Price : on request