In 1686, persuaded by the Prince of Condé, the Estates of Burgundy voted to build an equestrian monument to the King in the centre of Dijon's Place Royal. Etienne Le Hongre was the chosen sculptor, then at the height of his career. He had trained in the atelier of Jacques Sarrazin (1588/90-1660) and been admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1663, becoming a professor there in 1676. He had already worked on a number of prestigious royal projects at the Louvre and especially Versailles where he created his three famous allegories of the Air, the Seine River and the Marne River.
Le Hongre agreed to deliver the model by December 1690 for a monumental bronze sculpture that would be twelve feet high and thirteen feet long. When he died, two of his assistants, Roger Scabol and François Aubry, finished the project, probably in 1692. It then took no less than twenty-nine years for the monument to travel from Paris to Dijon. First, it was shipped on the Seine to Auxerre, where it was unloaded and stored for over 20 years as there was no form of locomotion powerful enough to transport such a huge load over land. In 1721, the statue finally arrived in Dijon but was only unveiled in March 1725. During the Revolution, this effigy of Louis XIV was toppled, smashed and melted down.
Like the equestrian monuments of the King by Martin Desjardins or François Girardon, bronze reductions were made after Le Hongre's model, probably for diplomatic purposes or propaganda. Less than ten of these are known today, including one in the former Jules Strauss collection, a second formerly in the David-Weil collection, and a third acquired in 1973 by the Dijon Municipal Museum. There was a fourth one in the sale of the Meyer collection in Brussels in 1927, and another acquired in 2007 for the Palace of Versailles (inv. No. MV 9151).
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