Archive pour novembre, 2010

68. Le Salon De Venus.

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Roman Goddess of love and beauty, gifted with immense power, Venus was a fearsome divinity: she is more or less responsible of why there is something instead of nothing on hearth.

Venus’ name might embody the honors and gifts to the divine when seeking their favors: such acts can be interpreted as the seduction of gods by mortals. This function is, in the etymological relationship of the root, *venes- with Latin venenum (poison, venom), in the sense of a magic charm.

Venus can also be a fearsome divinity, as it often symbolizes the passion that nothing stop, making fools of those that love she wants to lose, she devastates even legitimate unions, pushing husband to adultery, promotes fertility in illegitimate love and encourages mortals to all pleasures as well as the vices.

The coronation of Venus by the Graces, a painting by R.A. Houasse, that we can see on the sealing of this magnificent room, is surrounded by notorious events on the life of the young king, are all treated in  »trompe l’oeil » and giving the aspect of being statues. This composition, among with the work given by Jacques Rousseau on the walls, painted courses and galleries of ancient palaces, with a representation of Meleager and Atalanta between the windows.

All being a mix between Roman and Greek influence combine with real events in the life of the monarch, like Alexander marring Roxanne making reference of the wedding of the king, while the centered statue representing the young Louis XIV (Jean Warin) in roman gowns, seem surrounded and protected by a shell. The king was about 30 years old when this portrait of him had being done, reflecting the beginning of his  »own » reign, not being anymore influenced by others.

The room (8.90 m x 7.38 m x 13.27 m) was created between 1677 and 1680, once again by Le Brun. The décor here being the most Baroque of all the rooms in the king’s apartments, it is also the room where everything seems to respond like if statues, architecture and sculptures are speaking together.

The Venus salon was destined, on  »soirs d’appartement » (evenings reserved to court use only), to serve a light dinner on great tables adorned with silver candlesticks, where pyramid of rare fruits were available, like oranges and lemon.

The lighting in the room consisted of two large chandeliers of silver and eight crystal chandeliers supported by gilded pedestal. Green velvet trimmed with gold adorned doors and stools. Columns and pilasters of the Ionic order, done in Rance marble, adorned the walls.

The  »Roi Soleil » lived there a brilliant life, being watched while eating by the goddess of love and all creation.

Publié dans:History |on 30 novembre, 2010 |Pas de commentaires »

67. The Ambassadors Staircasse.

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The ambassadors who came to pay their respects to King Louis XIV, had first to pass in the royal court of Versailles, then under three arches closed by gates before passing another small hallway to reach this staircasse of an impressive height and waited there to be invited in the king’s appartments before a pompous entrance in the hall of mirrors or at an official dinner served in the Venus Salon. Meeting the french monarch, king of the world, was a solemn act, so was the room, preparing mentally all guests to meet the sun on earth!

Louis XIV made build the staircase with the greatest splendor possible in order to produce a strong impression on them, an impression they would transmit to their respective sovereigns. It was a phenomenal thing according to the descriptions of the time. The entrance was leadin from one end to the Venus salon, the other entrance getting you to the living room of Diana.

Its construction lasted from 1672 to 1679 and was commissioned to the architect François d’Orbay, who imagines steps of French marble in red, green, white and gray color, then a fountain in the hollow of a niche, surmounted by a antique group (gift from Italian prince Alexander Albani to Louis XIV) can be seeing.

Between the columns and pilasters, there are frescoes painted by De Vandermeulen. Le Brun painted the large cornice symbolizing the four major parts of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa and America, who all admires the French monarch in it’s splendor.

The vault also is covered with paintings that claim says the French victories, the magnificence of the king, his power, his authority over the world!

On the ceiling, a skylight is not without to remind us the link created between our dear Louis and Sun. The skylight also being called  »verrière zénithale ».

Louis XV demolished the Ambassadors’ Staircase and reformed a part of Versailles to build small charming rooms. The space was needed to permit our beloved Pompadour to present Campistron’s Opera and Lully in 1749, since it was the only room enough tall to present such opera. Then, in 1752, the place had being completely destroyed to build the apartments of the king’s daughters.

The pictures of the room you can see today are drawings from the time and computerized reconstitutions. The second last picture is a painting from Jean-Leon Gérôme, the last one is our favorite (Pompadour) on stage, all busy to  »play » for her king and please him without giving sex!

Publié dans:Non classé |on 17 novembre, 2010 |Pas de commentaires »

66.Les appartements du roi: Salon de l’abondance.

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The  »Drawing Room of Plenty » was build in 1680 for Louis XIV to store rare paintings. At first, it was to be nothing more then a hallway, a Cabinet, for objects of art and a storage room for the fabulous collection of gold medals, locked in boxes inlaid with carved copper and tortoise shell.

The painted ceiling, a work from René-Antoine Houasse, who was student of Lebrun. Was painted around 1683 and represent the Abundance and Liberality: all around the ceiling, young men and young girls hold rares objects and the royal silverware, while looking toward the visitors.

At the center, we can appreciate the allegory of the Royal Magnificence and the progress done on great arts during his reign, while the four bronze busts around the room represent the descendants of Louis XIV. On both sides of the door, we see paintings of his son, the Dauphin and his oldest grand-son, the Duke of Burgundy. His grand-son, King Philip V of Spain, all three works are due to the talent of Hyacinthe Rigaud. Then, on the left, his great-grand-son, the future Louis XV, is one of the many copies of a lost original painting by Jean-Baptiste Van Loo.

Every Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, considered  »Soirs d’Appartement » (apartments evenings), the room was becoming alive: these unofficial nights of entertainments where we can practice all sorts of games like cards, billiards or backgammon.

Valets were serving refreshments on the three set tables, like tea or coffee, whine and liquors. Most of the time, the evening was starting with a concert, continuing with dances and games which it seems people bet big. Then, when the time of the Grand Couvert comes, all guests were invited to the Venus Salon for a copious dinner.

We can also see in the room the great Royal nave represented above the door. The nave of the king, a jewel-shaped vessel dismasted, was placed on the table of the sovereign for special occasions, or at buffet. Symbol of power, that everyone should welcome the transition. It contained the towel of the king.

On the time of Louis XIV, every simple acts were becoming sacred and done prestigiously, even wipe the mouth of the sovereign!

Publié dans:Non classé |on 13 novembre, 2010 |Pas de commentaires »

65. The apartments of the King: The Hercules Room.

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This room served as a chapel from 1682 until the new chapel inaugurated in 1710. The Hercules Room was ordered at the end of the reign of Louis XIV, by the very fact that it was the last room created by this ruler. It served mostly during his reign as a place of passage between the north wing and the central body of the castle. Not being considered part of the great apartments properly speaking, it is nevertheless the most broad: 18.32 meters high, 13.85 wide and 11.57 long.

Robert de Cotte was responsible for it’s decoration, which began in 1712 to stop at the King’s death in 1715. It was not until the end of the regency (in 1725) to see the work begin again.

The walls are covered with marble summers and 230 pillars are round and decorated with bases and capitals of gilt bronze. They support a cornice decorated with trophies and consoles.

A monumental painting of Veronese, The Supper with Simon, was originally intended for the convent of the Servants in Venice and dates from about 1570. It was offered to Louis XIV so that it helps the Republic in the war against the Turks. Another Veronese’s painting adorns the top of the marble fireplace: Rebecca and Eliezer, painting of 2.40 meters by 3.66 is dated between 1550 and 1580. Its frame was made by Jacques Verbeckt.

While The Apotheosis of Hercules dominates the ceiling: Francois Lemoine completed this masterpiece in 1736, are composed of 142 characters and are the largest ceiling painting on canvas in Europe. No wonder that the inauguration of the canvas, Lemoine was appointed first painter to the king. It was however the last project of art of this painter who commit suicide shortly after. This painting depicts Hercules, the hero who rises to the sky near the gods.
Hercules, therefore, son of Jupiter and Alcimène, shows its strength, being just a few months old, strangling the serpents sent by Juno to kill him by jealousy against Alcimène.

Juno wont stop there and leads Hercules to madness and delusion, bringing him even to kill his unique children and, to atone for this crime to serve a king who orders him to accomplish 12 impossible works. Obviously he would all pass it through and Hercules is still judged for it as a symbol of strength and energy. The surname given to the monarch, ”Le Roi Soleil”, was given to him when he was dressed that way in a ballet created by J-B Lully.

Not surprising that Louis XIV himself was associated with the sun! And to Apollo, gods of the arts. The Greeks and Romans mythology went back in fashion in art for the pleasure of the king, while Archaeological digs are prevalent throughout all the 18th century. It is all precursor of neoclassical and Napoleonic Empire where women are trying to resemble the Greek statues, even to risk the pneumonia and not hesitating to drop their robes of silk cloth to look like these statues!

That room saw great events happening under it’s wing, like the great dress ball of January 26th, 1739, for the wedding of the oldest dauther of LouisXV with the Spanish Infant. Also some larges covered suppers happended there, like in 1769, for the marriage of the Duke of Chartres, then in 1782 for the birth of the Dauphin. The room also received the ambassadors of Tippoo Sahib in 1788 and the Sultan of Mysore the same year. There also Louis XVI signed a decree proclaming his fidelity in october 6th, 1789, to the National Assembly.66.Les appartements du roi: Salon de l’abondance.

Publié dans:Non classé |on 11 novembre, 2010 |Pas de commentaires »

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