- Andrew McClellan
[Billarderie d’Angiviller, Comte de la; Flahaut, Charles-Claude]
(b Saint-Rémy-sur-l’Eau, Jan 24, 1730; d Altona, nr Hamburg, Dec 11, 1809).
French administrator. His brief but distinguished military career led to the Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XV, by whose side he had served at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745), entrusting him with the education of the royal princes, including the Duc de Berry, the future Louis XVI. Flahaut’s many years of faithful service were rewarded with his appointment as Directeur-Général des Bâtiments du Roi after Louis XVI’s accession in 1774. Although nothing in his background had prepared him for his new responsibilities—he was of pure military stock and unlike his predecessor, the Marquis de Marigny, had not been groomed in the arts—he proved an excellent civil servant: efficient, imaginative and, above all, devoted to the King. Of all 18th-century Directeurs des Bâtiments, he alone merits comparison with Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV’s great minister.
D’Angiviller is best known for his attempts to revitalize history painting and sculpture (see...