Martin van der Bogaert, known with his gallicised name (Desjardins) was born in 1637 in the Dutch city of Breda and trained in Antwerp under the painter Peter Verbruggen in 1651-52.
According to the Memoires Inédites of Guillet de Saint-George (chosen as official biographer of the Royal Academy in 1682), Desjardins arrived penniless in Paris, but found lodging with a rich merchant of gold and silver and was well received by sculptors like Van Opstal (1605-1668) and Buirette (1631-1699). He was admitted to the Academy in 1671 and was later made Rector in 1786.
His first royal commission came for the Château de Vincennes, where he worked under Van Opstal and carved a bas-relief with figures of slaves, now lost. He produced numerous statues for Versailles, but worked also for private patrons.
Among his most famous works was the monumental bronze equestrian statue to Louis XIV for the Place de Victoires a new square opened up in Paris to celebrate Louis XIV’s victory in the Dutch war which ended in 1679. Completed in 1686, the monument also included four colossal figures of captives and various medallions with reliefs, all in bronze. The equestrian statue was destroyed in 1792 but the captives, trophies of arms and roundels are still at the Louvre.
Desjardins became one of the most successful and sought-after sculptors of his time and had a very active workshop.