Lemoyne's well-made head for Versailles

On 10 July 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

The Chateau of Versailles again enriched its collections by pre-empting this drawing by François Lemoyne.

François Lemoyne (1688-1737), Étude de tête pour l’Amour de la Vertu dans l’Apothéose d’Hercule (Study of a Head for the Love of Virtue in the Apotheosis of Hercules), pastel, three pencils and stump, 25 x 20 cm.
Result: €182,000

An unusual new drawing telling the story of how the Hercules Room at Versailles was lavishly decorated drew plenty of notice, especially from the Chateau of Versailles museum. François Lemoyne (1688-1737) was commissioned to undertake the great adventure with very precise instructions: to paint The Apotheosis of Hercules on the sprawling vault. When the French King saw the painted ceiling on his way to mass one day, he was filled with joy and he surely saw the hand of God at work. The same day, he appointed Lemoyne his First Painter to the King. After the apotheosis of Hercules came that of Lemoyne: On 6 December 2019 (Beaussant Lefèvre), Versailles had already acquired his Study for a figure of Hercules (pierre noire pencil and white chalk on blue paper, 31.5 x 24 cm, 12.4 x 9.4 in) for €66,040.

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