Record number 03/2188
TitleLe Grand Escalier De Versailles.
Imprint[S.l.:: s.n.], [1688?]
Physical Description[11] pl. (incl. t.-pl.) (all dble.); 655 mm. 
Summary NoteNo publication-date is given on the title-plate. One plate [2] carries the date of 1688.

The only text is that engraved on the title-plate; which includes an eleven-line introduction.

The other ten plates show parts of the decoration of the Grand Escalier at Versailles, each with a short explanatory caption. The Escalier was part of the state apartments, and Le Brun was instructed to decorate its walls and vaults with scenes promoting the reputation of King Louis XIV; which he executed between 1674 and 1678. The larger panels show recent political events such as the king's passage of the Rhine and the submission of Franche-Comté; while the window-openings are surrounded by representations of the months, ancient deities and allegoric figures. These decorations were further embellished with sculptures by A. Coyzevox (1678-81).

Le Brun's decorations were an expression of the taste for solemn magnificence that is associated with the Louis XIV style. Later in the king's reign a lighter, freer style began to come into vogue. In 1750 the staircase was demolished. In 1895 P.E. Sansom incorporated a copy of it in his Hôtel de Castellanes, Paris.
Responsibility NoteThe title-plate states that the whole design is by Le Brun and that he himself executed it in fresco, apart from two scenes painted by Van der Meulen. Two plates name Le Brun as the designer; one plate [pl. 9] names the souce-artist as Mignard. Only one plate carries the name of a draughtsman - plate [9], which is signed as designed and engraved by G. Audran. Two other plates carry the names of engravers - pl. [2], as engraved by C. Simonneau, and pl. [7], as engraved by Step. Baudet, with lettering engraved by C. Berey. The title plate (plate [1]) and all other plates [3-6, 8, 10, 11] are unsigned.
SubjectStaircases - Ceilings - Interior decoration - Paintings, European - Paintings, French - Palaces - France - Versailles - History - 17th century - Baroque
Rulers - Monarchs - Publicizing - Public relations - France - 17th century
Pictorial works - France - 17th century
Name as Subject Le Brun, Charles, 1619 - 1690
Mignard, Pierre, 1612 - 1695
Louis XIV, King of France, 1638 - 1715
Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
ReferencesM. Gareau & L. Beauvais, Charles Le Brun, premier peintre du roi Louis XIV (1992, English tr. 1992); Charles Le Brun: le décor de l'Escalier des Ambassadeurs à Versailles [exhibition catalogue] (1990); Le Brun à Versailles [exhibition catalogue] (1985).
Binding Note20th-century red cloth-covered boards; the spine lettered 'Le Grand Escalier De Versailles - Le Brun.'
ProvenanceRecorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.
Contributors Le Brun, Charles, 1619 - 1690, source artist
Audran, Gérard, 1640 - 1703, draughtsman, engraver
Mignard, Pierre, 1612 - 1695, source artist
Simonneau, Charles, 1645 - 1728, engraver
Baudet, Étienne, 1636 - 1711, engraver
Berey, Claude Auguste, ca. 1651 or 1665 - ca. 1730, engraver
MARC Record view