The young Girardon studied in Rome at the expense of Louis XIV's chancellor Séguier and worked in the Paris studio of the Anguier family from about 1650. His talents and his early association with Charles Le Brun, future First Painter to the King, led to his rapid rise to pre-eminence. He worked with Le Brun at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, where the opulent classicism that found its finest expression at Versailles was first developed. From the 1660s onwards Girardon contributed major works to the gardens and palace at Versailles. His later works, such as the magnificent equestrian statue of Louis XIV (1685–92; destroyed) for what is now the Place Vendôme in Paris, continue the trend towards a more dynamic concept of sculpture. Girardon was also a notable collector of sculpture.
During the reign of Louis XV, many bronzes were stamped with a hallmark made of a crown placed above the letter C. This relates to a tax imposed in 1745 on objects made of bronze and copper. The edict of that year specified that both old and new bronzes should be checked and marked. The tax was suspended in 1749.
C. Maumené and L. d’Harcourt, ‘Iconographie des rois de France. II. Louis XIV, Louis V, Louis XVI’, Archives de l’art français, XVI, 1931, p. 17; M. Martin, Les Monuments équestres de Louis XIV, Paris, 1986, p. 115, no. 62
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