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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

After Charles Le Brun
French, 1619–1690

Title Page from Recueil de divers Desseins de Fontaines et de Frises Maritimes
(A Collection of Designs for Fountains and Maritime Frieze Sculptures)

Engraving, about 1680
Museum Purchase, 1967.128a

Originally bound, this set of engravings made after designs by Charles Le Brun represent unexecuted projects for the palace of Versailles and for Paris locations during the reign of Louis XIV. The engravings included in the exhibition show designs for fountains. There is dispute concerning the actual engraver of these images.

Charles Le Brun was born in Paris and began his formal training as an artist at the age of eleven. He went on to become the most influential arbiter of art in France in the later part of the 17th century. His influence on the court of Louis XIV was immense and the style that developed under his stewardship came to be accepted throughout Europe. So much was he favored by the king and the French ministers of finance, that Le Brun was automatically given all of the commissions for the decoration of the royal palaces starting in the 1660s.