The pinnacle of LE BRUN's glory
Between 1662 and 1673, Charles LeBrun rose to the pinnacle of his glory. Accolades abounded: the King made LeBrun a titled Nobleman and he received officially the title of First Painter to the King in 1664. Charles LeBrun was named Knight of the Order of St. Michel and Chancellor for Life of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Other notable titles were bestowed on him during these years: in 1666 he became the Founder of the Academy of France in Rome; in 1668 he was given the title of Equerry and the same year he was named Rector in Perpetuity of the Royal Academy of Painting in Paris. " LeBrun thus became the leading light in the art world of the seventeenth century France ".
LeBrun's style became much more personal, as he moved away from the ancient masters that had influenced him. ''Here we finally discover the essence of LeBrun''. Most of his works from this specific period are recognizable by the finely detailed shining armours, marvelous helmets bedecked with feathers and ferocious beasts, the magnificient weapons decorated with jewels or heads of animals, and the figures draped in silky gold, purple and blue.
It was during this period that he dedicated a series of works to the history of The Battles of Alexander the Great, and he did not miss the oportunity to make a stronger connection between the magnificence of Alexander and that of the King. LeBrun's thinking reached the high point of its evolution at Versailles. In the new paintings that adorned the vaults and walls of the palace, the King was no longer in the guise of Alexander. LeBrun dared to portrait the sovereing himself.
LeBrun's success was far-reaching. ''Not only did the King, Queen Mother, the Pope, cardinals, ministers and all of the court nobility admire his genius, but his colleagues and workers at Gobelins also showed great respect for their master ''. Celebrations were held every year in honour of the First Painter; the Mai Des Gobelins became a testimony of the esteem and allegiance shown to LeBrun by the community that he governed.
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