Saint Luke

Saint Luke 1st Century

Evangelist 1st Century

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.

Corneille Van Clève (1646-1732)

Date sculpted

2.85 metres, including plinthe

Tonerre stone

Restoration of the Royal Chapel

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Saint Luke

Saint Luke the evangelist is represented as an older man with a short curly beard and hair, wearing a short-sleeved tunic and a cloak fastened with a fibula on his right shoulder. He is unrolling a scroll in his hands, symbolizing his Gospel. Little is known about the life of Saint Luke. Christian tradition refers to him as “Luke the doctor” as a disciple of Saint Paul, and credits him with writing the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. A legend from the 6th century also credits him with creating a series of icons of the Virgin Mary, and he was thus seen as THE painter by excellence, the portrait artist of the Virgin Mary’s. He became the patron saint of painters and physicians.

Saint Luke

© EPV/Thomas Garnier


the sculptor Corneille Van Clève

As a descendent of a family of goldsmiths, Corneille Van Clève specialised in bronze work. The supple, elegant nature of his work caused him to become one of the main artists behind the introduction of the Rococo style in France. After a ten-year stay in Rome and Venice, he was admitted to the Academy upon returning to France. He sculpted for the king at Versailles, the estate of Marly, the Hôtel des Invalides and in the choir of Notre-Dame. His work can be admired in the gardens of Versailles, with the statue of Sleeping Ariadne and the Children of the Water Parterre, as well as inside the Royal Chapel with the high altar, which was culminating point of his art, with the bas-relief of Dead Christ, the Adoring Angels, Radiant Glory and the Adolescent Angel with Outspread Wings, all in gilded bronze.

Portrait of Corneille Van Clève

© RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Link to the collections website


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