Seine and Marne

<em>Seine and Marne</em>

  • Seine and Marne

    COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

  • Seine and Marne

    COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

  • Seine and Marne

    COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

  • Seine and Marne

    COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

To close

Title: Seine and Marne

Author : COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

Creation date : 1712

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 244 cm - Width 270 cm

Technique and other indications: carved marble

Storage place: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 06-512426 / M.R. 1801

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

To close

Title: Seine and Marne

Author : COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

Creation date : 1712

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 244 cm - Width 270 cm

Technique and other indications: carved marble

Storage place: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 06-512426 / M.R. 1801

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

To close

Title: Seine and Marne

Author : COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

Creation date : 1712

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 244 cm - Width 270 cm

Technique and other indications: carved marble

Storage place: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 06-512426 / M.R. 1801

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

To close

Title: Seine and Marne

Author : COUSTOU Nicolas (1658 - 1733)

Creation date : 1712

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 244 cm - Width 270 cm

Technique and other indications: carved marble

Storage place: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 06-512426 / M.R. 1801

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Publication date: September 2015

Historical context

In France, with the accession to the throne of Louis XIV, a new artistic policy was put in place. From the 1660s, one of the major projects carried out was the transformation of Louis XIII's hunting lodge into a sumptuous palace, the gardens of which must be decorated with numerous sculptures.

The policy applied at Versailles also extended to more private areas such as that of Marly. As a pleasure castle, the importance of the gardens and ponds is of the first order: this tamed nature is punctuated by numerous marbles according to the wishes of Louis XIV himself.

Upon his accession as superintendent of the King's Buildings in 1699, Jules Hardouin-Mansart decided to expand the already ambitious program of the gardens of the Château de Marly. In 1699, he asked for four new statuary groups from Nicolas Coustou (Seine and Marne), Corneille Van Clève (The Loire and the Loiret), Anselme Flamen and Simon Hurtrelle (groups of nymphs) for the Bassin des Nappes and thus create a majestic whole. Coustou makes a wax model of Seine and Marne in the spring of 1699, which was accepted by Louis XIV, and in the summer of the same year, he quickly made a plaster cast. Payments lasted until 1715, when the artist had to make a new pedestal for the group's move to the Tuileries Gardens, on the western entrance side.

Image Analysis

This allegory represents the junction of the two main rivers of Île-de-France.

The Seine is represented in the form of an idealized old man, leaning on a cornucopia from which many fruits emerge including melons, grapes and pomegranates, reflecting the wealth brought to the countries crossed by this river. The presence of the horn is to be compared with the already existing figures of the Tiber and Nile antiques, exhibited at the time in Rome and known through engraving. A majestic and sovereign man, the Seine holds the oar, an ancient emblem of its domination over the waters - as the iconology of Cesare Ripa demands. The figure is seated, so as to be elevated in relation to the others.

Opposed to the Seine, the Marne is embodied in the guise of a young woman, leaning back and smiling, alive and graceful. She is also seen as a nymph.

Two children surround them, each bringing additional elements to the understanding of the statuary group. One, closer to the Seine, plays with a swan, an animal imported by Louis XIV, undoubtedly for its tenuous relationship with Apollo, the sun god, and maintained on the royal cassette. The other handed a crayfish to the Marne (this part of the work no longer exists today).

The composition, elegant and dynamic, in which the two rivers meet diagonally, is innovative. It is explained by the desire of Louis XIV to admire isolated works, and not backed by walls like The Tiber and The Nile antiques in the Belvedere Hall in the Vatican. The artist therefore creates an admirable group on all sides so that the viewer, by turning around it, is marked by the singularity of each detail and the finesse of his technique. Nevertheless, the route taken by the spectator in situ was governed by the siting of ponds and fountains, which therefore offered a determined vision of this group.

The representation of the Seine is inspired by the ancient statue of Tiber, a copy of which was in the collection of Louis XIV. Indeed, from 1666, the Académie de France in Rome was designed to allow young artists to copy or mold the ancient sculptures of the Eternal City. At the end of the reign of Louis XIV, the royal collections therefore consisted of an unparalleled set of the most important sculpted works of Antiquity, from which the artists were inspired and which they even had to surpass, according to the will of the king. .

Interpretation

Creating a new Rome, both by the number of ancient statues copied and by the new creations of French artists, is clearly a demonstration of the power acquired by Louis XIV throughout his reign. Seine and Marne, although displayed in a place dedicated to pleasure, must still maintain the image of the absolute sovereign and above all the foundation of his power. In fact, the Seine is in an elevated position in the group in order to refer to the Marly machine, a real technical feat allowing the river to rise to supply the ponds in the gardens of the castle.

These displays of power are enabled by the wealth of French rivers and, unlike other achievements, Nicolas Coustou's group and the Nappes Basin in general put forward a nurturing and peaceful aspect of the king. Thus, the orders made for the Château de Marly correspond to an art different from that of Versailles, lighter and more natural, ideal for a royal pleasure residence.

  • allegory
  • Versailles
  • Hardouin Mansart (Jules)

Bibliography

HASKELL Francis, PENNY Nicholas, For the love of the antique: Greco-Roman statuary and European taste (1500-1900), Paris, Hachette, coll. "Archaeological Library", 1988.ROSASCO Betsy, The Sculptures of the Château of Marly during the Reign of Louis XIV, New York / London, Garland Publishing, 1986.

To cite this article

Saskia HANSELAAR, " Seine and Marne »


Video: VLOG 1: Randonnée en seine et marne - Île de France