Groups, statues, pillar termini carvings, busts, vases and carved friezes
Marble, bronze or lead sculptures adorn the walks, groves, fountains and ornamental lakes of the gardens. They draw their inspiration from Greco-Roman mythology as well as ancient history.
In 1661, when André Le Nôtre was commissioned to design and lay out the gardens of Versailles, Charles Le Brun supervised the team of sculptors installing fountains, statues and vases. Original works or copies of antique models made by the scholarship students of the Académie française in Rome, over 300 sculptures were commissioned to adorn the gardens. Celebrated sculptors such as Girardon, Tuby and Coysevox produced numerous masterpieces which made the gardens famous. Their contributions were completed later on by the Grande Commande of Colbert in 1674, when the Superintendent of Buildings, Arts and Industries commissioned 24 statues in white marble to decorate the Water Parterre.
In the following century, although Louis XV and then Louis XVI added few changes to the gardens, the Neptune group fountain was installed in the centre of the pool and new groves were created in the 1770s, such as the grotto featuring Apollo Served by the Nymphs and the Queen’s Grove.