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Baroque Art

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Versailles, La grande piece d’eau (The Grand Water Basin)

Late 17th Century
17th Century
8 x 11 3/4 in. (20.3 x 29.8 cm)

Pérelle Family (Les Perrelles), French, b. 17th Century

Object Type: PRINTS
Creation Place: Europe, France
Medium and Support: Engraving
Credit Line: Gift of Susan M. Dixon
Accession Number: 13-G-3551
Label for "Printmakers of the Baroque: 17th-Century Explorations of Space and Light", La Salle University Art Museum, December 16, 2013 – February 28th, 2014:

This intricately shaped water basin is located on the east/west axis of the garden at Versailles, near King Louis XIV’s palace. Created in 1676 during one of many building campaigns, it is the largest basin in the garden. Its spouts were said to shoot water 60 feet into the air, an amazing feat in that day. A statue of Neptune, which gives the basin its current name, the Neptune Basin, was added in 1740.

The Perelles – father Gabriel and sons Nicolas and Adam -- were known for visually documenting the king’s gar­den, among many sites in and around Paris. Here they chose a high vantage point that creates the illusion that the site is never-ending. The endless vista is character­istic of the Baroque period, and here signals Louis XIV’s aspirations for limitless power. The windmill in the far background refers to the water pumps needed to keep the fountains in operation. Supplying water to the vast garden was a challenge for the hydraulic engineers at the French court.

Holly Michaels, '16
Current Location: Storage : Works on Paper : 16x20 : 2.3.43

Exhibitions


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Printmakers of the Baroque: 17th-Century Explorations of Space and Light, Curated by Susan M. Dixon and Carmen Vendelin, La Salle University Art Museum, December 16, 2013 – February 28th, 2014.

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