Religion 1707

©EPV/Didier Saulnier

Allegory 1707

The decision to have monumental sculpted decoration on the balustrade and the pediment of the Royal Chapel was taken in around 1705. The carefully chosen subject matter of the decoration mixes allegory with great figures of Christianity. The four evangelists rub shoulders with the twelve apostles, the four Fathers of the Latin Church, the four Fathers of the Greek Church and six allegories of Christian virtue.

Guillaume Coustou (1677-1746)

Date sculpted

2.92 metres, including plinth

Tonnerre stone

The restoration of the Royal Chapel

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Represented in a reclined position, the allegory of Religion is wearing a dress and a cloak pulled up over he head like a veil. In her outstretched right hand she is holding a chalice, which is an image of Christ’s presence in his Church. To her left there is a closed book sitting under the base of a column, symbolising the Church’s foundation on the Holy Scriptures.

© EPV/Thomas Garnier

© EPV/Thomas Garnier


The brother of Nicolas Coustou and, like his brother, a student of Coysevox, Guillaume Coustou left for Rome after being awarded the Premier Prix de Sculpture (1697). He returned to Paris before 1703 and was received at the Academy. He was employed by the department of the King’s Buildings at the Invalides, Versailles and Marly (Marly horses which are today in the Louvre). His style is characterised by the strength of expression and, in this regard, Guillaume Coustou was also an excellent portraitist. Most of his work at Versailles concerned the Royal Chapel.

Portrait of Guillaume Coustou the Elder

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

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