Grande Commande

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The grande commande was a commission ordered by Louis XIV for statues intended to decorate the parterre d’eau of the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, as initially conceived in 1672. The commission, which included 24 statues and four groups,[1] was ordered in 1674. Designed by Charles Le Brun from Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia, the statues were executed by the foremost sculptors of the day (Blunt, 1980; Friedman, 1988, 1993; Nolhac, 1913; Thompson, 2006; Verlet, 1985).

Owing to concerns of the effects of the vertical lines of the statues in relations to the garden façade of the château, the statues of the grande commande were transferred to other locations in the gardens in 1684 (Berger, 1985; Blunt, 1980; Friedman, 1988, 1993; Marie, 1968; Nolhac, 1901, 1913; Thompson, 2006; Verlet, 1985; Weber, 1993).

The 24 statues were personifications of the classic quaternities:

The four groupings represented the four classic Abductions:

  • The Four Abductions:

Thomas Regnaudin, L'Automne sous les traits de Bacchus (the autumn represented as Bacchus), copy, cast, Versailles' gardens.
The original statues Water, Night, America, preserved in the galerie basse of the Palace of Versailles.
Statues of the grande commande - The Four Humors of Man
“Meoncholy” by Michel de la Perdrix, (? - 1693) “Phlegmatic” by Matthieu Lespagnandelle, (1617–1689) “Choloric” by Jacques Houzeau, (1624–1691) “Sanguine” by Noël V Jouvenet, (?-1716)
Statues of the grande commande - The Four Parts of the Day
“Dawn” by Pierre I Legros, (1629–1714) “Noon” by Gaspard Marsy, (1624–1681) “Evening” by Martin Desjardins, (1637–1694) “Night” by Jean Raon, (1631–1707)
Statues of the grande commande – The Four Parts of the World
“Europe” by Pierre Mazeline, (1632–1708) “Africa” by Jean Cornu, (1650–1710) “Asia” by Léonard Roger, (1644-après 1694) “America” by Gilles Guérin, (1611/1612-1678)
Statues of the grande commande - The Four Forms of Poetry
“Lyric Poetry” by Jean-Baptiste Tuby, (1635–1700) “Pastoral Poetry” by Pierre Granier, (1655–1715) “Satyrical Poetry” by Philippe de Buyster, (1595–1688) “Epic Poetry” by Jean Drouilly, (1641–1698)
Statues of the grande commande - The Four Seasons
“Spring” by Laurent Magnier, (1618–1700) “Summer” by Pierre Hutinot, (1616–1679) “Autumn” by Thomas Regnaudin, (1622–1706) “Winter” by François Girardon, (1628–1715)
Statues of the grande commande - The Four Elements
“Fire” by Nicolas Dossier, (1629–1700) “Air” by Etienne Le Hongre, (1628–1690) “Earth” by Benoît Massou, (1627–1684) “Water” by Pierre I Legros, (1629–1714)
Statues of the grande commande – The Abductions
“Boreas abducting Orethyia” by Anselme I Flamen, (1647–1717) “Saturn abducting Cybele” by Thomas Regnaudin, (1622–1706) “Pluto abducting Persephone” by François Girardon, (1628–1715)



  1. ^ All but the "Abduction of Coronis by Neptune" were completed.

Coordinates: 48°48′18″N 2°07′13″E / 48.8049°N 2.1204°E / 48.8049; 2.1204