John S. Hallam
Salon de 1673
The exhibition of 1673 was accompanied by the first livret or printed catalog of four pages listing artists and their works.1 Fifty members of the Academy exhibited. Held in the courtyard of the Palais Royal for three weeks beginning in mid-August, it featured four very large paintings by Charles Le Brun, the Chancellor and Rector of the Academy, representing battles of Alexander the Great that were commissioned by the state to glorify Louis XIV. Le Brun’s works epitomized the grand historical formula/format promoted by the Academy. Hundreds of figures inspired by Italian Renaissance and Baroque artists, the French classical painter Poussin, and the Flemish Rubens, engage in a jumbled melee of heroic deeds and events. The Corneille painting, along with the still-life trophy by Madeline Boullogne and the allegory by Houasse, was also commissioned by the government and placed in ceilings at Versailles. The Van der Meulen was a tapestry cartoon depicting the siege at Lille. Testelin's portrait of Louis XIV as Protector of the Arts from 1666 was commissioned by the Academy itself for their new quarters in the Louvre. Several attributes of painting and sculpture are at his feet (see detail below).
Please click on the thumbnail image for magnification and key.
Abraham Bosse's print from around 1640 of the shopping arcade in the Palais Royal serves as the background of the collage. Bosse taught perspective at the Academy until being expelled by Le Brun in 1661.
Sculptures were displayed on pedestals in the center of the courtyard and medium-sized paintings were set on benches or banquettes against a long wall. The large paintings were hung above the benches.
The text in the collage was the title of the livret.
Guiffrey, J.J. Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqu'en 1800. Paris: Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 1868–1871. Print.
1. J. J. Guiffrey, Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqu'en 1800. Various years of these livrets have been digitized and are available on GoogleBooks and on the University of Toronto Library Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/details/collectiondesliv01guifuoft.