Jean Cotelle, Gardens and Gods, the exhibition at the Grand Trianon in Versailles

From June 12 to September 16, 2018, the Palace of the Versailles dedicates an exhibition to Jean Cotelle, King Louis XIV’s painter. Displayed at the Grand Trianon, it’s the beautiful opportunity to discover the work in situ of the one who has been entrusted with the decoration of the Grand Trianon by the king, as well as to enjoy the Grand Trianon flowery gardens.

From June 12 to September 16, 2018, Jean Cotelle, Gardens and Gods, is the compelling exhibition to be discovered at the Grand Trianon of the Palace of Versailles. This exhibition, displayed on the occasion of the restoration of the Grand Trianon 21 paintings by Jean Colette, is a lovely ode to the nature.

For the record, set a few kilometers from the Palace of Versailles, the Grand Trianon of Versailles, has been thought up like a pleasure palace for the King, so that he can rest far from his court (yes, a few kilometers are enough, think about Queen Marie-Antoinette’s house, set a few kilometers too).

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

For this place made of marble, covering one floor, and 53-meter (173-ft) and paced by 16 large bays looking onto the gardens, the King orders 21 paintings to Jean Cotelle. The latter will come up with vertical paintings (as an answer to the window bays looking onto the gardens), which represent each thicket of the gardens of Versailles adorned with characters from the mythology or fables!

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

For these paintings, Cotelle has been inspired by Albani’s paintings. Small figures with an eternal youth and telling the love between gods in the harmonious and dreamlike landscapes which sweet and delicate spirit suits the telling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Besides paintings, lead sculptures coming from the décor of some lost thickets of the gardens of Versailles, like the one from the Labyrinth or the Dome thicket are exceptionally displayed in the exhibition.

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

In another room, we discover another facet of the artist. More precisely, the one of the set designer who took part in the creation of one of the curiosity cabinet in the Château de Saint-Cloud that used to belong to the King’s brother. We also discover a wonderful replica of the fresco on the ceiling of Marseilles city hall, painted by the artist as well as the huge May created for Notre-Dame in Paris. A monumental painting which delivery to the Trianon has been hard work. We also find paintings belonging to Lenôtre and that certainly influenced the artist at that time.

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

The major piece of the exhibition, Les Parterres du Trianon de marbre avec Zéphyr et Flore endormie, will delight curious visitors. Yes, you only have to go to the gardens from June to September where the Trianon garden staff flowers the flower beds like Jean Cotelle’s painting with a range of rose, blue, white hues on a strong green background reminding of Cotelle’s gardens.

Jean Cotelle, l'exposition au Grand Trianon de Versailles

To do so, gardeners use 4 kinds of Salvia sages (for the blue), Alstroemeria, Agrostemma and Ageratum (for the white) and Limonium sinuatum for the texture of crepe paper. Currently blooming, flower beds will be perfect in a couple of weeks and plantings have been made so that flowers will be visible all summer long.

According to the Estate of Versailles president, Catherine Pégard, this exhibition has been a true challenge: explaining the reason behind this order, Jean Cotelle’s choice. She says: “We don’t visit the Cotelle gallery like we visit the Versaille thickets. Gardens are enlivened with the mythology of Ovid and La Fontaine. They have the elegance of Le Nôtre’s lines but also are a show like in the reality. We speak about ‘paintings’ in two ways, by looking at them with ‘the prince’s eye’, like imaginary scenes. Through twenty-one sketches, in the intimacy of the Trianon, Cotelle draws passions and the culture of an era. Why him? We’ll never know”.

It’s true, the Versailles Grand Trianon is a true hidden gem you’ll want to visit this summer!

My B.
Last updated on 12 June 2018

Practical information

Opening Time
From 12 June 2018 to 16 September 2018



    Place d'armes
    78000 Versailles

    -26 ans UE, handicapés et chômeurs: Free
    billet château + trianon: 18 €
    billet coupe-file exposition: 18 €

    Official website

    More information
    Horaires : 12h-18h tous les jours sauf lundis

    Need to communicate on Sortir À Paris?
    ↪ Discover our professional offers on

    Be the first to comment!

    Refine your search
    Refine your search
    Refine your search
    Refine your search