Apotheosis of HerculesApothéose d'Hercule

François Lemoyne, « The Apotheosis of Hercules », Salon d'Hercule (Hercules Room) of the Palace of Versailles
Apotheosis of Hercules

In 1736, on September 26th, King Louis XV inaugurated at the Palais de Versailles the work of the painter François LEMOYNE, newly created for the Salon of Hercules, "The Apotheosis of Hercules" and reproduced above.
On this occasion, the gazette "Le Mercure de France" published an exceptional text because probably written by the painter himself which tells us about the conditions that presided over this work and also of the detail of its composition.
It is this text that is reproduced below.
This painter's work is exceptional for many reasons and especially to be one of his last.
Indeed, the artist decided to put an end to his days shortly after achieving it, by suiciding of several strokes of sword, in his apartment in Paris on June 4th, 1737.

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Ceiling of a Salon of the Château de Versailles, preceding that of the Chapel of the King, called the Grand Salon de Marbre.

For more than two years we have been working at Mercury of France, we have always had special attention to celebrate Fine Arts;
but we have never had such a wonderful opportunity that the one that is presenting today, And we thought we did nothing for their glory, if we were negligent in talking about the great book of oil painting that has just been discovered to the eyes of the public;
an exceptional event, which is to most illustrate our School in this century, and serve as a Monument to Posterity, to prove the progress of Painting in France, under the reign of Louis XV.

The Apotheosis of Hercules makes the Subject of this immense and beautiful composition.

François Le Moine, from Paris, Professor of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, Student of Mr. Galoche, Professor of the same Academy, worked in the order of the King for four years, under the direction of the Duke of Antin, Pair of France, Chevalier of His Majesty's Orders, Governor of the Orléanais, Minister of State, and Director General of the King's Buildings, enlightened Protector of the Arts, and always attentive to what can contribute to their advancement.

Wednesday, September the 26th, the day for the appearance of this great Work, the Salon was, until the time the King crossed it to go to Mass;
Her Majesty accompanied by the Lords, Cardinal of Fleury and other Ministers, followed by a large crowd came from afar;
stopped there for a long time, and more on the return of Mass; The King examined in detail the order in general, the differens groups in particular, the Drawing, the colours the wonderful effect of the whole.

Her Majesty whose delicacy of taste is known, and his love for Painting and for all Fine Arts, after having extremely praised the genius and beauty of Mr Le Moine, appointed him immediately his First Painter, with applause from the entire Court, and an infinite number of spectators whom curiosity had attracted to Versailles, whose contribution does not diminish, it even increases every day to the same degree of the point, which is to be seen of such a well execution of such a great composition;
because to say it, the biggest part of the great Gallery, painted by the illustrious Le Brun, is not almost so big that half the one that gives occasion to this Article.


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