Rare depiction of the view of the Palace of Versailles in 1664, before its reconstruction by Louis XIV.
The composition is painted from a slightly plunging point of view of the wooded hills of Satory.
In the foreground we find Louis XIV on horseback at the entrance to the Satory woods, with his cane stretched out giving his orders for the hunt. He is accompanied by bodyguards, musketeers and courtiers.
Mounted on a brown horse with a blond mane, the young sovereign is dressed in a sumptuous coat with red ribbons, a white tie tied at the neck.
Behind the figures opens, illuminated, the great plain dominated in the center by the magnificent Palace of Versailles as it stood in 1664.
The southern facade of a stone and brick castle stands in the middle of a nascent park. The small Orangery appears between two of its ramps of only about twenty steps, below a flowerbed hidden by the farmhouse
To the right of the castle are the buildings of the village grouped around the church of Saint-Julien.
On the right, a pond which will be dug later to become the Swiss pond.
In the middle of it we see hunting jacks with packs of dogs.
This intimate and bucolic atmosphere contrasts with the present magnificence of the castle, but allows us to immerse ourselves in the history of the most famous palace in the world and contemplate the nascent ambitions of one of the greatest European monarchs.
The work on display is a studio variant by Adam Frans van der Meulen of his first royal commission. The original is kept at the Palace of Versailles and has the same dimensions.
Oil on canvas,
Workshop of Adam Frans Van der Meulen, Paris, 17th century
Dimensions: h. 95 cm, l. 128 cm
Important Louis XV giltwood frame
Framed dimensions: h. 128 cm, h. 161 cm
Adam Frans Van der Meulen
Born in Brussels, painter of battles and specialist in panoramic, pupil of Peeter Snayers, Van der Meulen was recruited by Colbert in 1664. By his talent as a painter of battles, van der Meulen obtained the favor of Louis XlV, and attended most campaigns of the great king, of which he was responsible for reproducing the various scenes with his brush. He excelled at representing horses, and Lebrun, whose niece he had married, entrusted him with the execution of those which appear in his paintings of the battles of Alexander. He entered the Academy of Painting in 1673, and died in 1690.