Home ›Studies› Inauguration of the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf, August 25, 1818
Title: Inauguration of the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf, August 25, 1818.
Author : LECOMTE Hippolyte (1781 - 1857)
Creation date : 1842
Date shown: 25 August 1818
Dimensions: Height 79 - Width 119
Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas. Executed on order of Louis-Philippe
Storage place: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet
Picture reference: 88EE1021 / MV 1781
Inauguration of the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf, August 25, 1818.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet
Publication date: March 2016
The glory of Henry the Great
The golden legend of Henri IV had, in the visual arts, experienced a vigorous revival in the 18th century, in particular under the reign of Louis XVI - four paintings, in particular, intended to serve as tapestry cartoons having been ordered in 1785- 1787, to the painter François-André Vincent (Louvre and National Museum of the Château de Fontainebleau). "
A new monument
Like the other statues of sovereign (Louis XIV place Vendôme and place des Victoires, Louis XV place de la Concorde), the monument dedicated to Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf had been brought down during the Revolution. As early as 1814, as we have seen, a plaster version had replaced it. The sculptor Lemot was asked for a new statue, unveiled at the original site in 1818, on St. Louis Day, another significant date. It is the inauguration ceremony of this particularly symbolic monument which is represented here: a white triumphal arch, color of the monarchy, with the number of Henry IV, has been temporarily built. In the tribune facing the median and the Place Dauphine, the authorities have taken their seats, King Louis XVIII, his family and in particular his niece, the Duchess of Angoulême, daughter of Louis XVI, as well as the eminent members of the Court. The troops give up their arms, the crowd, of all classes and all ages, applauds.
The restitution of the statue of Henry IV was part of a deliberate plan to restore Paris to its character as a royal capital. By succeeding the Napoleonic regime which had built various monuments to its glory or that of new France, the restored Bourbons were not to be outdone. In addition to the statue of Henri IV, a new statue of Louis XIV was also made in the Place des Victoires. This very symbolic aspect of monumental statuary was to be one of the characteristics of public sculpture throughout the 19th century, in particular in Paris. It should be noted however that the painting which commemorates this important event for Legitimist propaganda was executed by Lecomte in 1842, at the request of Louis-Philippe, for the historic rooms of the Palace of Versailles. It is therefore primarily narrative and topographical (as in the rendering of Paris at the time, with the houses on the Quai de la Seine in the background). While the scene is accurately traced, no anecdote reinforces the deep political significance of the event in the composition of the painting itself.
- Louis XVIII
- New Bridge
- Henry IV
- Louis Philippe
Geneviève BRESC-BAUTIER and Xavier DECTOT Art or politics? Arches, statues and columns of Paris Paris, Artistic action of the City of Paris, 1999 Claire CONSTANS National Museum of the Palace of Versailles: Paintings 2 vol., Paris, RMN, 1995.June HARGROVE The Statues of Paris: the representation of great men in the streets and squares of Paris Paris, Mercator Fund, 1989 François FURET The Revolution, 1780-1880 Paris, Hachette, 1988, reed. "Pluriel" collection, 1992.Evelyne LEVER Louis XVIII Paris, Fayard, 1988.Emmanuel de WARESQUIEL and Benoît YVERT History of the Restoration: birth of modern France Paris, Perrin, 1996.
To cite this article
Barthélemy JOBERT and Pascal TORRÈS, "Inauguration of the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf, August 25, 1818"