GIRARDON, François
(b. 1628, Troyes, d. 1715, Paris)

Apollon and the Nymphs

Marble, life-size
Apollo Grotto, Versailles

Girardon worked for seven years on the group of Apollo and the Nymphs (which originally stood in the Grotto of Thetis, flanked by the horses of Apollo carved by Guérin and Marsy). The life-size figures are like a semblance, in mythological terms, of the King and his court ladies taken by surprise in a corner of the park. Undoubtedly of some importance was the journey to Italy made by Girardon while he was working on the group: the seven strictly isolated figures have Renaissance prototypes. The lively setting, animated by lifelike details done from nature (such as the amphora, so accurately rendered with all its relief carving), may readily be imagined as part of a ballet or opera with music by Lully.

The tree nymphs at the back are by Thomas Renaudin (1627-1706).