Jean II Cotelle Painter of the Grand Trianon (1646-1708)

© Château de Versailles, Dist. RMN / © Christophe Fouin

Jean II Cotelle belonged to the generation of painters called upon by Louis XIV to decorate the Grand Trianon. He painted twenty-one paintings for the Trianon gallery also called the Cotelle gallery.

Jean Cotelle the Younger was born into a cultured family in Paris in 1646. He grew up in the company of artists, especially painters, including his father Jean Cotelle the Elder, painter to the King, decorator and ornamental painter. He most likely received his early training from the portrait painter Claude Lefèvre. Jean Cotelle the Younger then visited Rome, where he stayed from 1665-1670 at his own expense.

His notable works from 1675 and the years which followed include miniatures to illustrate The Campaigns of Louis XIV as well as a large-format May for Notre-Dame in 1681 representing The Marriage at Cana.

Cotelle also worked on other decorative commissions, in particular in Saint-Cloud where he created the jewellery cabinet as part of the decoration depicting the story of Venus and Aeneas. 

The most important commission he received was a commission from Louis XIV to decorate the Trianon gallery also called the Cotelle galery.

Cotelle painted twenty-one topographical representations of the gardens of Versailles, which he adorned with mythological and literary characters. At the same time, he carried out a series of twenty gouaches representing the Trianon Gallery in miniature.

Some paintings from the Cotelle gallery

1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue de la Colonnade avec Apollon et les nymphes
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1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue de l'amphithéâtre du Théâtre d'eau avec Vénus parée par les heures en présence d'Ouranos
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1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue du Bassin du Dragon et de la rampe du bassin de Neptune avec Apollon tuant le serpent Python
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1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue des cinquante-deux jets de Trianon avec Mars et Vénus devant Apollon et Vulcain qui va les faire prisonnier avec un filet
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1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue du Labyrinthe avec Diane et les nymphes
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1689-1691 — Jean II Cotelle

Vue de la Salle de Bal avec Armide couronnant Renaud
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In 1693, he left Paris for Provence, first making a stop in Lyon, where he created the decoration on the ceiling of the great hall for the Château de la Damette. From 1695 to 1700, he lived in Marseille and became the co-director of the opera with Duplessis. He also created ephemeral decorations such as The Entry of the Duke of Burgundy and the Duke of Berry into the City of Avignon.

Jean Cotelle the Younger returned to Paris in 1703 where he continued his work for the Academy until his death in 1708.