Le Clerc, Sébastien (1637-1714)
Representation des Machines, qui ont servi a eslever les deux grandes pierres qui couvrent de fronton du Louvre [The Installation of the Louvre Pediment] 1677
Engraving, 37.8 x 62.5 cm (plate), 57.5 x 83.3 cm irreg. (sheet)
Gift of George Collins Levey 1879
National Gallery of Victoria (p.183.92-1)

= Levey gift, cat.no.41

[photo: comparative impression reproduced by Berger 1993]

This famous engraving, frequently discussed and reproduced in accounts of the construction history of the Louvre, vividly evokes the complex process of transporting and installing the large stone raised, in two halves, to form the pediment of the East façade.

Maxime Préaud, in his catalogue entry on this print in the 2015 Getty exhibition A Kingdom of Images, notes that different phases of the lengthy operation involved are combined here, together with a rich array of subsidiary figures and details.

Claude Perrault, in his Vitruvius edition (1684), intimated that he had invented the machinery needed for this formidable task. However, Préaud suggests that the architect was probably dependent on similar apparatus developed by Domenico Fontana to transport the Vatican obelisk in 1589 (and engraved at that time).

For the East façade, see also Marot (J.) Face principale du Louvre 1676 {1879} NGV [PR] [Levey gift, cat.42].


Not listed in NGV 1894 or 1905

The NGV catalogue does not include a reproduction. The photo shown above is from Berger Palace of the Sun (1993), fig.86 (available via Wikimedia Commons)

For a detailed recent account of the impression in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, see Préaud in Fuhring Kingdom of Images (2015), cat.24, pp.104-5, as noted above; see also Suite et Arrangement (1727), p.3, and Duplessis Cabinet du roi (1869), p.14