8 March 2023 • Press release

Noël Coypel, painter of monumental works

From September 26, 2023 to January 28, 2024

Versailles is synonymous with large sculpted, gilded and painted decorations, of which Noël Coypel was one of the outstanding creators in the 17th century. Thus, nowhere could be more appropriate than the Palace of Versailles to evoke these large ensembles, which are highlights of this now all but forgotten artist’s work, whose career nevertheless flourished under the wealth of power.

Decorator of his century

Founder of a dynasty of painters, Noël Coypel (1628 - 1707) won renown in several areas: ceiling and easel paintings, graphic arts, and tapestry cartoons. After his initial training in Orléans, he returned to Paris and participated in designing the opera sets for Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo. He impressed painter Charles Errard, director of the Royal Apartments decorations at the time, hence monumental décors became his primary occupation: first the Parliament of Rennes, then the royal residences and finally, at the twilight of his life, the Invalides. Some of these works have now disappeared – in the Louvre, Fontainebleau, Palais Royal, and even those of the first Versailles – while others are known only through a few paintings, which will be presented at the exhibition.

At the same time, Noël Coypel met with brilliant success at each stage of his academic career. He entered the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1663, and was appointed professor in 1664 before becoming head of the French Academy in Rome from 1673 to 1675, then head of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1695.

his first retrospective

This first exhibition dedicated to Noël Coypel will honour the artist through a selection of 90 works (paintings, drawings, tapestry cartoons, etc.) presented in the Grand Trianon and at the palace in the Queen’s Guard Room, under a décor he created himself and which underwent restoration between 2015 and 2017. As an extension of this exhibition, the Rennes Museum of Fine Arts will organize an exhibition covering the painter’s entire career in 2024.


Béatrice Sarrazin, General Curator of Heritage at the National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, and Guillaume Kazerouni, in charge of historic collections at the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes


Véronique Dolfuss

Graphic Design

Estelle Maugras-Balam

Press release


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Jupiter's Chariot between Justice and Piety, Noël Coypel, around 1672-1673

© Palace of Versailles, Dist. RMN © Christophe Fouin

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Apollo Crowned by Victory after Having Slayed Python c.1689, Noël Coypel, around 1671

© Palace of Versailles, Dist. RMN © Christophe Fouin

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The Triumph of Philosophy or Grammar among the Liberal Arts, ca. 1685-1690

© Collection du Mobilier national, photographe Isabelle Bideau

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Nymphs presenting a Cornucopia to Amalthea, 1688-1689

© RMN GP Château de Versailles © Gérard Blot

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River God sitting, facing left, unknown date

© Paris, Beaux-Arts de Paris Dist RMN GP image Beaux-Arts de Paris

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Trajan giving private hearings, ca. 1670-1680

© Image RMN-GP, Gérard Blot

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