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date: 21 October 2019

Versailleslocked

  • Simone Hoog

Extract

Town and château in France, 20 km south-west of Paris. A hunting-lodge built for King Louis XIII in 1623 was rebuilt with extensive gardens from 1631 (see fig.). Under King Louis XIV it became the main royal residence and the seat of the French government from 1682. The château was enlarged in two main phases, first by Louis Le Vau from 1668, then, from 1678, by Jules Hardouin Mansart. The interior decorations were carried out under the supervision of the Premier Peintre du Roi, Charles Le Brun.

The gardens at Versailles, laid out by André Le Nôtre, with a programme of sculptures directed by Le Brun, were designed to complement the château: their solar imagery (see §2 below) was directly related to the image of Louis XIV as the Roi Soleil (Sun King). Further altered by Louis XV, Versailles was one of the most resplendent European palaces of the 18th century, a symbol of French royal power and an exemplar for contemporary monarchs....

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F. Souchal, ed.: French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV (Oxford, 1977–)