Charles Le Brun was much more than a painter. He was the great decorator who shaped the royal rooms of the almightySun King, Louis XIV of France. A monarch who promoted the aesthetic renovation of his great palaces, withVersaillesleading the pack. But with others like the Vaux le Vicomte Palace, as one of his most beloved residences and where he had the best artists of the time work.
Hall of the Muses of the Vaux le Vicomte Palace
Of course among them is Charles Le Brun, who between 1658 and 1661 undertook the creation of this elegant and ornate Hall of the Muses in said palace.
Actually, Le Brun was commissioned to do all the decorating for the royal residence. And as he has already done in other works, such as in his cycle of Alexander the Great equating him with the French king, he also proposed an authentic iconographic cycle.
The truth is that his work at thePalace Vaux le Vicomtecan be considered the best rehearsal and the immediate antecedent to what would later be the Palace of Versailles. Like there, he here he is playing with different elements to achieve an effect and a global discourse. That yes, that discourse in which ceramics, furniture, carpets, lamps intervene, is guided by the images that are seen both in paintings and in the elaborate tapestries that hang in thewalls.
And the truth is that a unitary touch is seen in everything, something that is undoubtedly contributed by Le Brun's talent for this type of global commissions, since he was a very gifted character for this work that today we could call as an interior architect. A character with an undoubted taste, with a vast culture and with a great knowledge of many artistic disciplines. To which must be added his ability to deal with the most powerful characters of his time.
We can realize that the general air that dictates the architectural forms of the room is inspired by the French classic style. An architecture that exudes elegance and majesty, which fits perfectly with the spirit of praise of everything that was done for King Louis XIV, the highest expression in Europe of the absolutist system.
But from those classic forms everything is ornamented in an overflowing way. There is a certain balance, it is true, but the decoration tends to be excessive and ornate. Although it is true that there is still some harmony, there is monumentality but also rationality, and pageantry has been taken into account in coexistence with comfort and functionality. Something that in the following decades will be lost in palatial decoration, and everything will lead to the excessive, the representation and the ostentatious.