Louis XIV, the Man and the King: a Major Exhibition at the Palace of Versailles

| September 24, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Palace of Versailles ranks among the most famous world heritage sites, and is the most beautiful and the most comprehensive achievement of French art in the 17th century.

The palace is paying homage to its famous builder, Louis XIV, with the exhibition “Louis XIV, the Man and the King”, from 20 October 2009 to 7 February 2010. The exhibition goes beyond Louis XIV’s public image to explore his personal tastes, and for the first time at the Palace of Versailles puts this famous monarch centre stage, with over 300 pieces from all around the world, never previously brought together, some of which are being shown in France for the first time since before the Revolution.

The King’s public image, shaped by the sovereign himself and his advisors, was continually evolving to embrace the roles expected of him. This near-mythical image is reflected in the excellence of the artists with which the King surrounded himself: the paintings and sculptures of Le Bernin (Bernini), Girardon, Rigaud, Cucci, Gole, Van der Meulen and Coysevox all contributed to the royal mystique.

But the exhibition also aims to provide an insight into the man behind the monarch by revealing his own personal taste. As a royal patron of the arts, and a royal collector, he was competing against other European sovereigns who were genuine connoisseurs. Louis XIV benefited from Mazarin’s legacy, and developed his taste through direct contact with artists and the personal relationships he established with them: Le Brun and Mignard in the case of painting, Le Vau and Hardouin-Mansart in the case of architecture, Le NA tre in the case of garden design, Lully in the case of music, and MoliA re in the case of the theatre.

In bringing together those works which the King admired, the true picture of an enthusiastic art lover and true man of taste emerges through the jewellery, cameos, medals, miniatures and objets d’art, as well as the paintings and sculptures, with which he liked to surround himself in his private apartments at Versailles. He took a personal interest in all manner of artistic projects, inquiring daily after the progress of Le Brun’s works, contributing to the design and layout of the gardens with Le NA tre, taking part in ballets performed at court, or co-ordinating the construction works for the Palace of Versailles with Hardouin-Mansart and Le Vau.

Visitors to the exhibition can take the opportunity to fully appreciate Louis XIV’s great work by going on to visit the palace and gardens of Versailles.

For further information: http://www.chateauversailles.fr Exhibition web site: http://www.louisxiv-versailles.fr Press contacts: AurA(C)lie Gevrey, HA(C)lA ne Dalifard, Violaine Solari +33(0)1-30-83-75-21 presse@chateauversailles.fr

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Category: Fine Art News

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