Bénoit le Coffre

Bènoit le Coffre was the most important painter in Denmark during the reign of Frederik IV. He was born in Copenhagen and educated in Paris. He followed in the footsteps of his father and became a decorator of ceilings. In 1700 he was appointed Painter of the Court.

Le Coffre worked in Rosenborg in 1705-06, when Frederik IV converted and modernised parts of the Castle. For example, Christian IV’s old bathroom was converted into a chamber for Queen Louise. Here le Coffre painted A Bacchanal, one of his most beautiful ceiling paintings. He also painted in Frederiksberg Palace; for example A Masquerade, which is among the most outstanding Danish ceiling paintings that have been preserved.

Le Coffre executed four portraits of Frederik IV. One of them, together with a painting of Sophie Hedevig, the King’s sister, is at Rosenborg. The ability to combine portrait and genre painting was a particular characteristic of le Coffre’s work.