The masterpieces of the Sun King’s chamber dazzle us in Amiens

Six paintings and a sculpture straight from the king’s bedroom at Versailles: lovers of Caravaggesque art shouldn’t miss this short but attractive exhibition at the Musée de Picardie.



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This is called an exchange of courtesies. While the museum of Picardy sent to the chateau his splendid series of Exotic Hunts for the exhibition “Louis XV, tastes and passions of a king” as well as two works by Bachelier (read below), Versailles sent him in return a bust and a few paintings, taken from the bedroom of King Louis XIV. Usually presented more than ten meters above the ground, drowned in the abundance of wonders, the paintings found in Amiens an ideal exhibition setting for the visitor, Caravaggesque art lover.

The Frenchman Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632) takes the lion’s share. Besides, the animal is there, crouching in the shade, near the Saint Mark that the artist represents as an elderly man, scrutinizing the invisible with acuity. the Saint Luke figure, him, a being in the prime of life, absorbed in reflection and calligraphy. the Saint Jean appears even younger, painted in high contrast chiaroscuro and placed in a powerful diagonal. As to Saint Matthewhe is the most colorful of all, dressed in a blue habit and a dazzling red cloak, while near him stands an angel with unearthly whiteness and delicate wings.

Frenchman Valentin de Boulogne takes the lion’s share. Besides, the animal is there, lurking in the shadows.

Entering the collections of Louis XIV in 1670, the four evangelists benefited, between 2015 and 2020, from restoration interventions which restored harmony and liveliness. Another work by Valentin de Boulogne, Caesar’s Denarius (Where Caesar’s Tribute) illustrates the episode from which the phrase ” Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s “. Here again, the painter works wonders: mastery of colors, finesse of execution, balance between monumentality and intimacy.

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The Parmesan Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647) is also in line with Caravaggism. Hagar and the angel is taken from a popular biblical scene in the 17th century, involving the servant of Abraham. Magnificent painting, which attracts even more attention that between the two characters is inserted a summary and greenish Ishmael. Or its ghost, since the child is supposed to be under the bush. License of the artist, mystery of art.

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The exhibition ends with a bust of Louis XIV by Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720). Haughty king, well recognizable. One can only praise the skill of the sculptor in texture rendering (curls of hair, skin, fabric); nevertheless, we prefer the paintings to this very codified portrait!

Louis XIV seems to agree to the presence in Amiens of the works that were in his room at Versailles.
Louis XIV seems to agree to the presence in Amiens of the works that were in his room at Versailles.

“From Versailles to Amiens: masterpieces from the Sun King’s bedroom”****, until February 26 at the Musée de Picardie, 2, rue Puvis-de-Chavannes. Tuesday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekends 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 7/4 €. Such. : 03 22 97 14 00. amiens.fr





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exhibition Painting Library and museum Sculpture Amiens (Somme) Versailles (Yvelines)

The masterpieces of the Sun King’s chamber dazzle us in Amiens