The Four defeated nations

The <em>Four defeated nations</em>


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  • Four Captives also known as Four Vanquished Nations [Spain, Empire, Brandenburg and Holland]

    VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

  • Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Spain and the Empire]

    VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

  • Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Holland and Brandenburg]

    VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

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Title: Four Captives also known as Four Vanquished Nations [Spain, Empire, Brandenburg and Holland]

Author : VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

Creation date : between 1679 and 1685

Date shown: 1678-1679

Dimensions: Height 220 cm - Width 200 cm

Technique and other indications: formerly gilded bronze sculpture

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 94-050476 / R.F. 4407 to R.F. 4432

Four Captives also known as Four Vanquished Nations [Spain, Empire, Brandenburg and Holland]

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

To close

Title: Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Spain and the Empire]

Author : VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

Creation date : between 1679 and 1685

Date shown: 1678-1679

Dimensions: Height 220 cm - Width 200 cm

Technique and other indications: formerly gilded bronze sculpture

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 94-050487 and 94-050482 / R.F. 4407 and R.F. 4408

Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Spain and the Empire]

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

To close

Title: Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Holland and Brandenburg]

Author : VAN DEN BOGAERT aka Martin DESJARDINS Martin (1637 - 1694)

Creation date : between 1679 and 1685

Date shown: 1678-1679

Dimensions: Height 220 cm - Width 200 cm

Technique and other indications: formerly gilded bronze sculpture

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Picture reference: 94-050485 and 94-050489 / R.F. 4410 and R.F. 4409

Four captives also called Four Vanquished Nations [Holland and Brandenburg]

© RMN - Grand Palais (Louvre museum) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Publication date: September 2015

Historical context

The Place des Victoires has a singular genesis since it is wanted by François, viscount of Aubusson, duke of La Feuillade (1625-1691), to celebrate the end of the war in Holland and the victory of the French army. by the peace treaty of Nijmegen (1678-1679). This is therefore the first desired and created by an individual in order to celebrate his sovereign; this example will be emulated in the most important French cities of the reign of Louis XIV.

Inaugurated in 1686, the Place Royale des Victoires is also an urban novelty in the Parisian landscape of the 17th century.e century thanks to the Duke's desire to have it well lit thanks to four imposing, richly decorated marble pylons. Jules Hardouin Mansart is responsible for the creation of this space in which sat a monument of great importance highlighting the political, military and artistic power of the king.

To perform this sculpted work, Martin Van den Bogaert, known as Martin Desjardins, is chosen. In order to give glory to Louis XIV, the artist made a bronze pedestrian statue of the King crowned by Victory, on a pedestal decorated with bas-reliefs and above all flanked by four bronze figures of captives embodying the various powers subjugated by the royal army. Of these works melted down (for the bronzes) and destroyed during the Revolution, only the captives remain, as well as the bas-reliefs and medallions.

Image Analysis

The four captives therefore each embody a power defeated by the French army. Spain [image 2, left] is symbolized by a naked ephebe in the antique style, with the body in action and whose gaze raised to the sky still seems full of hope. He is chained and seated on his own weapons, a shield and a sword inspired by antiquity. However, at his side, signs and a broken spear symbolize his submission.

The German Empire [image 2, right] is depicted as a middle-aged man, bearded, weary and bent over himself, thus embodying the despondency and resignation due to captivity.

Holland [picture 3, left], in the guise of a slightly bearded man, with cropped hair and a determined and fierce gaze, is the very image of the revolt. The man is not seated like the others, but with one knee on the ground and his muscles clearly tense, ready to get up and release the chains that hold him back.

The fourth figure is the Brandenburg [image 3, right], whose musculature is this time hidden by an ancient dress in reference to the Celtic and Gallic peoples. The man, shown as an older man, is resigned to his fate and even seems to ask for mercy from the victors with his eloquent and desperate gaze which can be compared to that of the Laocoon, famous ancient statue kept in the papal collections at the Vatican.

In a skilful way, Martin Desjardins dresses and gives rhythm to the pedestal thanks to the presence of war trophies positioned next to the defeated warriors (added in 1685): weapons, signs and shields are visible at their sides and at their feet. In a glance turned towards the ancient examples, well present in the royal collections and symbols of power in a European court in XVIIe century, the sculptor signs an impressive and strong work, showing his great technique and his artistic knowledge in the treatment of expressions.

Interpretation

A true triumph offered to Louis XIV by one of his most skillful courtiers, this monument humiliates the four enemy powers as they also become allies of France through treaties, alliances and princely marriages.

This overwhelming vision of sovereign power was criticized from the 18th century.e century for the absolutism it embodies. In 1792, the golden statue of Louis XIV was knocked down and melted down as a powerful and abject symbol of absolute monarchy and the values ​​of humiliation and servitude that it entails. Captives are saved from vandalism, by being identified as the vanquished and slaves to be freed from the yoke of the oppressor. Their chains are symbolically broken and they escape the cast iron to be deposited in 1804 at the Hôtel des Invalides. Emblems of a despotic and powerful reign as well as of a courtier demonstrating straightforwardness, the captives nevertheless played a very different role during the Revolution during which they were seen as the nations delivered by the Enlightenment.

  • allegory
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Holland
  • myth
  • absolute monarchy
  • Paris
  • Hardouin Mansart (Jules)
  • Holland War

Bibliography

BRESC-BAUTIER Geneviève, DECTOT Xavier (dir.), Art or politics? Arches, statues and columns of Paris, cat. exp. (Paris, 1999), Paris, Artistic action of the City of Paris, coll. “Paris and its heritage”, 1999.BRESC-BAUTIER Geneviève, SCHERF Guilhem (dir.), French bronzes: from the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment, cat. exp. (Paris, 2009-2008; New York, 2009; Los Angeles, 2009), Paris, musée du Louvre / Somogy, 2008.

To cite this article

Saskia HANSELAAR, “The Four defeated nations »


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