93. The Palace at Versailles

Aerial view
Façade facing gardens (3-tiered Classical; similar to the White House in Washington, D.C.)

Palace and Statue, most likely the Greek God Apollo (Sun King) 

Hall of Mirrors

Queen's Bedchamber 

"Equestrian Relief of King Louis XIV as a Roman Emperor," by Antoine Coysevox in the "Salon de la Guerre" room, 1715 CE.

Excellent Prezi including the Form, Function, Content, and Context in greater detail: https://prezi.com/lhfibcjm5w1k/ap-art-history-content-area-3-93-chateau-de-versailles/ 


1. FUNCTION
  1. To emphasize and demonstrate Louis XIV's Importance
  2. To host parties and military agreements
  3. To compare Louis XIV's competence and wisdom with that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, especially Apollo, the Sun God.
  4. Residential palace for Louis XIV and successive French monarchs, from 1682-1789 (Revolution began)
  5. Demonstrated the shift in the French government's power from the Noble families (aristocracy) to the King, Louis XIV
  6. To embody and define the French Baroque style, and establish Louis XIV's dominance over the arts and architecture of the 1600s.
  7. To symbolize the power and prestige of Absolute Monarchy. 
2. CONTEXT
  1. Begun in 1661, completed ~1682
  2. Louis XIV's Staff
    1. Louis le Vau: chief architect to the King
      1. Built the Grand Façade and the King and Queen's apartments
      2. Built the park's Orangerie and Menagerie
      3. Adopted the Italian-style 'invisible' roof hidden by a trophy-adorned balustrade
        1. Balustrade: a railing supported by ornamental parapets
    2. André le Nôtre: landscape designer of the gardens
    3. Charles le Brun: interior decorator and painter
    4. Jules Hardouin Mansart: favorite architect (toward the latter parts of the construction process)
    5. Jean-Baptiste Colbert: Principal advisor to the King
      1. Collaborated with Louis XIV to organize art and architecture to serve the French state.
    6. Hyacinthe Rigaud: Painter to the French King 
    7. Pierre Puget: Sculptor; his works are in the King's Gardens
  3. Portraiture
    1. Often portraits of Louis XIV, the Sun King, were collaborations by artists with specializations in fabric, architecture, landscape, armor, or fur.
    2. Most famous portrait is by Hyacinthe Rigaud, called "Louis XIV," done with Oil on Canvas in 1701.
      1. Larger than life portrait
      2. Now hangs in the Louvre
      3. Shows Louis XIV in his finest robes and heels (he was only 5'4"!) 
      4. Rigaud's portrait hung over his throne, and served in his place when he was absent; courtiers never turned their back to the portrait. 
  4. Louis XIV Himself -- and his Plots to Control French Culture
    1. Louis XIV was most prominent patron of the arts in the 1600s
    2. France in 1600s was the largest, most powerful European nation, despite its semi-expansive economy.
    3. Louis XIV was a master of propaganda and political strategies
      1. He and Jean-Baptiste Colbert recognized the power of visual imagery and architecture in creating public personas. 
    4. Louis XIV and Colbert tried to normalize artistic taste and define the dominance of the Classical Style
  5. How Louis XIV exercised his control
    1. Kept the Nobility's power in check, invited them to festivities at Versailles to remind them of his power 
      1. Gave them benefits, but didn't let them rebel
    2. Stated his Divine Right to rule 
    3. Named himself "le Roi Soleil," the Sun King (Like Sun God Apollo)
  6. Louis XIV converted a royal hunting lodge into the palace of Versailles
    1. Just south of Paris
  7. Louis XIV hired architects, decorators, sculptors, painters, landscapers under Charles le Brun's control

3. CONTENT
  1. Satellite city to the East of the Palace at Versailles 
    1. Housed court and government officials, military and guard detachments, courtiers, servants
    2. City's 3 main avenues' axes converged on Louis XIV's bedchamber
      1. He could keep an eye on all the highest-ranking officials in his regime
      2. King's bedroom was an informal audience chamber
  2. Extremely detailed, ornate interior
    1. Top architects and decorators designed wall paintings, beds, doorknobs in French Baroque style
  3. Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces)
    1. Originally had furniture: gold and silver chairs, bedazzled trees
    2. Walls inlaid with mirrors
    3. Mirrors create illusion, the hallmark of the Baroque style
    4. Used for Louis XIV's many festivals
  4. Gardens
    1. Visible from Hall of Mirrors: central axis lined with trees, terraces, pools, and lakes
    2. Designed by André le Nôtre, who transformed a forest into the park/gardens
    3. Formal gardens serve as a transition from the ordered, man-made palace to the natural gardens
    4. Manicured shrubs, highly designed space
    5. Changes depending on time of day, season, and location: it's an experience
    6. Great undertaking, both in size and complexity 
4. FORM
  1. Stone, marble, glass, gold, silver, wood, gardens
  2. 700 rooms
  3. 2153 windows
  4. 67,000 m^2 of floor space
  5. 2000 acres of gardens 



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