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!
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