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Jean-Baptiste Colbert


Replica of the bust of the minister of Louis XIV executed on the order of the Academy of painting and sculpture and given to Colbert, then protector of the institution in 1677. Colbert is one of the principal ministers of Louis XIV. Comptroller General of Finance from 1665 to 1683, Secretary of State of the King's House and Secretary of State of the Navy from 1669 to 1683.

This bust is the culmination of a clever policy led by Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720) to achieve glory. "This representation full of history mixes the greatest characters of the state, Louis XIV, Le Brun, Colbert and Coysevox," says the art historian Françoise de La Moureyre. Louis XIV appointed Colbert Superintendent of Finance in 1665. On his side, Coysevox became a sculptor. The sculptor brings to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture this famous bust of Colbert. "Coysevox, who belongs to the second generation of sculptors of the seventeenth century, will be honored as the greatest sculptor of bust portraits of his time," says Françoise de la Moureyre.



After a few wanderings, the artist quickly realizes that he must obtain the support of important characters to make himself known. For this, he must do their portrait bust and, above all, enter the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In 1676, Coysevox, very cleverly, deposited at the Academy a terracotta bust representing Charles Le Brun (now preserved at the Wallace Collection). Le Brun is one of the key figures of the kingdom, he is the first painter of the king but also the director of the Academy! This venerable institution commissioned Coysevox a version of Le Brun marble, delivered three years later and now exhibited at the Louvre.