Clock, the dial is signed Louis Larsé Paris (Jean-François Larsé, active 1721-1750), Marquetery Boulle
Louis XIV took power in 1661 and placed his reign under the sign of authoritarianism and personification. All the arts will be used for the Royal propaganda, under the leadership of Colbert, from 1664, to the superintendence of the King’s buildings. Manufactures will be organized as well as trades. The painter Le Brun took over the Academy (restructured in 1663) and the Gobelins (1662). The whole became the Manufacture des Meubles de la Couronne in 1667. The reign of the Sun King was henceforth to be highlighted by the state-owned art.
Louis Le Vau (1612-1670) and Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646-1708) will dominate the theme of architecture. The Château de Versailles became the illustration of Royal Art, imbued with splendor and sumptuousness, with an interior decor that reflects this through its happy combination of materials. The setting of solemn and heroic classicism welcoming the triumphant and the majestic, fruit of the genial orchestration of Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) and Charles Le Brun.
This radiant period of French Art will be declined in all the Decorative Arts.
The cartel that we are now presenting is a worthy reflection of this period. The rigor and robustness of the structure, welcomes the allegorical elements, such as the mascaron placed on the pediment. The proportions are harmonious and each element of decorative bronze, of the time, come to suggest skillfully the different parts of its composition, such as these scrolls at the level of the base, evoking the stability of this piece of clockwork, and of the classical acanthus, whose natural foliage dictates us the inspirations of the classical nature. We find the art of the Royal symbol, certainly by the mask of Apollo, Greek solar God, but also the light that brings us the Royal Art, via these four heads of rooster, placed skillfully at the spandrels of the amounts. The whole is surmounted by a patinated bronze of the period, representing two putti, one asleep and the other playing with a cockerel with its wing spread.
The decorative bronzes only enhance the magnificent original decoration in Boulle and counter-Boulle marquetry, through mantling, foliage and scrolls in symmetrical composition. The glass panels reveal a checkerboard floor and perspective, evoking the temple of time, set in majesty by a dial in embossed and engraved copper and enamelled Roman numerals, concealing an original mechanism signed by Louis Larsé in Paris (received Master clockmaker in 1721). A cleverly concealed bell rings the hours and half hours.
André Charles-Boulle, cabinetmaker to the King (1642-1732)
The most skilful of the King’s cabinetmakers, he is the author of the greatest furniture of Versailles. He brought to the highest degree of perfection the marquetry of copper and tortoiseshell, commonly called the “Marqueterie Boulle”. He will apply it on exceptional works, currently preserved in the greatest collections, including the Château de Versailles and the Louvre Museum. We will find this work of cutting in part and in counterpart on objects of furnishing of which the religious clocks, with columns and the clocks of application, like that which we present.
To fully grasp the splendor of this period, I invite you to watch this magnificent documentary broadcast on Arte and of course, come and discover with your own eyes in our Gallery, a historical piece worthy of great world collections.
Cartel is available in our gallery