Charles Le Brun

Charles Le Brun (1619–1690) was the dominant painter, designer, and artistic authority during the first decades of Louis XIV’s reign. In addition to being premier peintre du roi (first painter to the king), he directed the Gobelins Manufactory, supervising dozens of artists and craftsmen in the production of tapestries and other furnishings for the decoration of royal palaces. Le Brun was also the leader of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, where he gave several highly influential lectures.

The early decorative programs at Versailles were largely the work of Le Brun. They included designs for garden statues, fountains, and festivals and culminated in the monumental paintings on the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors. After the death of Colbert in 1683, he received no more major commissions but continued to occupy a central position in the academy.