Faire entendre sa voix

French sculptor Charles Antoine Coysevox (kwa-zuh-vo) was born on September 29, 1640. He was an early bloomer, producing his first statue of note when he was only 17. Fortunately for him, he caught the eye of Charles Le Brun, the man who was in charge of the interior embellishment at Versailles on behalf of Louis XIV. He was then employed to create the sculptures at the Château de Marly outside of Paris. It has since been destroyed, but Coysevox’s statues were saved and are house in the Louvre today. In fact, I have a rather personal relationship with one of the monumental equestrian statues, having been publicly humiliated in the process of trying to draw it. (You can read about my art debut and finale here.)

Here’s Mercury and Pegasus by the master.

Here’s my pathetic attempt. (O the shame!)

Coysevox didn’t just do large scale sculptures. He was sought after for his portrait busts for the most important heads of his day, including Louis XIV, Louis XV, Colbert (Finance minister), Cardinal Mazarin, Maria Theresa of Austria, and his boss Le Brun. He produced the funeral monuments for some of these same luminaries.

Coysevox died in Paris, 10 October 1720. I’m glad he didn’t live to see what a hash I made of his masterpiece.

I’d be willing to bet that the vox part of Coysevox’s name is from the Latin word for voice, like voix in French. Today’s expression, faire entendre sa voix (fare en-ten-druh sah vwah) means “to make one’s voice heard.” Coysevox’s voice still speaks across the centuries through his sculptures.

Art and Architecture in France 1500 – 1700

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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3 Responses to Faire entendre sa voix

  1. Cliff Gilbert says:

    You are simply ahead of your time. This is protoretroredeconstructionism. Clearly.

  2. Cliff Gilbert says:

    Well, if we hung it on the wall at home we’d have to upgrade our whole security system. That would be rather expensive. Back to the vault with it! I’m sure that some day The Louvre will regret letting this one leave the building.

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