LE BRUN, Charles
(b. 1619, Paris, d. 1690, Paris)

Hercules (detail)

1658-61
Oil on canvas
Château, Vaux-le-Vicomte

The picture shows a detail of the ceiling decoration of the Salon d'Hercule.

The figure of Hercules played an important role in the iconography of 17th-18th-century France. The French accepted the legend that the Trojan Hercules had been the tenth king of the Gaul. A Gallic Hercules (who was also the god of eloquence) was celebrated in honour of François I. Furthermore, Henri IV and Louis XIII lent their features to the hero. Charles Le Brun went on to specialize in images of Hercules. He decorated with these images the ceiling of the Salon d'Hercule at the of the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte in honour of the wealthy finance minister Nicolas Fouquet.