Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Charles Le Brun

Entry of Louis XIV into Paris
between 1655 and 1661
oil on canvas
295 x 351 cm
Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) was a French painter and art theorist. Born in Paris, he was the son of a sculptor. Declared by Louis XIV "the greatest French artist of all time", he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin.

He was made first painter to the king, given an enormous salary, and until his death occupied a position of paramount importance in the artistic life of France not equaled until the advent of the painter Jacques-Louis David at the end of the 18th century.

Possessing both technical facility and the capacity to organize and carry out many vast projects, he personally created or supervised the production of most of the paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects commissioned by the French government for three decades during the reign of Louis XIV. Under his direction French artists created a homogeneous style that came to be accepted throughout Europe as the paragon of academic and propagandistic art.

In 1662 he was ennobled. In 1663 he was made chancellor for life of the academy, keeper of the Royal Collections, and director of the Gobelins manufactory. In 1666 he organized the French Royal Academy in Rome.