Two sculpted medallions for Louis XIV monuments acquired by the Louvre and Carnavalet

1. Jean Arnould known
as Regnaud (1612-1695)
and Pierre
Le Nègre (active between 1682 and 1699)
Allegory of the Victory at Saint-Gothard
Bronze - Diameter : 76.3 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Musée du Louvre / Nicolas Philibert

11/12/2007 — Acquisitions — Paris, Musée du Louvre and Musée Carnavalet — The Musée du Louvre has just acquired thanks to the patronage of the company Elior, one of the medallions that decorated the lighting columns at each corner of the statue of Louis XIV in the Place des Victoires. This representation of the king by Martin Desjardins was inaugurated in 1687. Twenty-four bronze medallions were commissioned from the sculptor Jean Regnaud and the founder Pierre Le Nègre after drawings by Pierre Mignard. Only eleven were made, probably kept by the La Feuillade family when the columns holding them were destroyed in 1717. The statue of the king was torn down in 1792 and replaced by a monument to Desaix then, in 1816, by the equestrian statue by Bosio that is still there today.
The relief represents, in allegorical form, the victory against the Turks at Saint-Gothard on 1st August 1664. It belonged to George IV, king of England, who gave it to Lady Conyngham in 1826 in whose family it remained until 1980 when it was put up for auction at Sotheby’s Monaco. After being in Marella Agnelli’s collection, it was once again sold at Sotheby’s New York, on 23 October 2004 (for $2,808,000 including fees).

2. Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720)
Louis XIV receiving the homage of
the City of Paris
, 1682
Marble - Diameter : 41 cm
Paris, Musée Carnavalet
Photo : SVV Couteau-Bégarie

3. Jean Lepautre (1618-1682)
Detail of a print
showing the Louis XIV
sculpture by Coysevox. The medallion is
on the structure surrounding the
king’s statue.

By coincidence, as does happen now and then, the Musée Carnavelet was able to enrich its collection at almost the same time with a medaillon (this one in marble) which was part of another décor surrounding a full-length statue of Louis XIV, executed this time by Coysevox for the Paris City Hall and which today stands in the court of honor of the museum.
An engraving by Jean Lepautre highlights a detail of this relief (ill. 3). The work, dated 1682, was put up for sale at Drouot by the auction house Olivier Couteau-Bégarie where it was indeed catalogued as representing Louis XIV receiving the homage of the City of Paris, recognizable by the nave which appears in the background.
Geneviève Bresc identified this sculpture and pointed it out to the director of the Carnavalet museum, Jean-Marc Léri who was able to purchase it thanks to the Amis du Musée [1].

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 11 décembre 2007


[1] Many thanks to Jean-Marc Léri who wishes to acknowledge the aid of Geneviève Bresc and Alexandre Maral in making this acquisition.

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