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Dassault Group, Patron of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Dassault Group is contributing to the restoration of the Grand Salon in the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the building’s nerve center and the hub linking all other rooms. The Grand Salon is a complex, innovative, unfinished space crowned by a cupola soaring 18 meters (59 feet) above ground level for a total surface area of 400 m² (4,300 sq. ft.).

The cupola was to be embellished with the largest fresco in France at the time. However, the arrest of Nicolas Fouquet in 1661 prevented the painter Charles Le Brun from launching this artistic odyssey. Thankfully, several preparatory sketches have been preserved through the centuries at the Graphic Arts Department of the Louvre Museum.

On the lower elevations, the cupola is supported by 16 telamones, sculpted by Jacques Houzeau from designs by Charles Le Brun representing the 12 signs of the Zodiac and the four seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

The extensive restoration includes the ceiling and columns, which require urgent and comprehensive renovation. To complete the restoration and endow the “Sun Palace” with the appearance imagined by Nicolas Fouquet and Charles Le Brun, the project will first recreate the preparatory sketches in digital form, projecting them onto the cupola along with a highly detailed 17th century engraving. A monumental projection will also extend over the elevations.

In addition to helping restore the Grand Salon, Dassault Group is joining the Château to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of poet Jean de La Fontaine, commemorated at Vaux-le-Vicomte in 2021.

A monumental three- to six-minute stream of images, expressing a free artistic spirit, will be projected onto the cupola of the Vaux-le-Vicomte Grand Salon as a tribute to La Fontaine’s faithful bond of friendship with Nicolas Fouquet. It will feature a contemporary illustration of The Fox and the Squirrel, an unpublished fable composed by the poet.