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This article was originally published on Single Life. Updated: July 9, Originally Published: Feb. Search Close.
The Palace of Versailles is an opulent complex and former royal residence outside of Paris. It has held sway in the public imagination for years because of its architectural grandeur and political history. Located about 10 miles 16 kilometers southwest of Paris, the palace is beside the settlement of Versailles. Cupid near chГўteau-richer town was little more than a hamlet before becoming the seat of royal power.
By the time of the French Revolution, it had a population of more than 60, people, making it one of the largest urban centers in France. France's kings were first attracted to Versailles because of the area's prolific game.
Louis XIII, who livedbought up land, built a chateau and went on hunting trips. At the time, much of the land around Versailles was uncultivated, allowing wild animals to flourish. The chateau Louis XIII built was little more than a hunting lodge having enough space to house the king and a small entourage.
It was his successor, Louis XIVthe "Sun King," a ruler who chose the sun as his emblem and believed in centralized government with the king at its center, who would radically transform Versailles making it the seat of France's government by the time of his death. Louis XIV ruled France for 72 years, and in that time transformed Versailles by encompassing Louis XIII's chateau with a palace that contained north and south wings, as well as nearby buildings housing ministries.
Versailles was built to impress. But, even more then that, he is the Sun King. That symbolism of the Sun King is very visible in the architecture of the Versailles.
The painter Lebrun, who designed the iconographic program cupid near chГўteau-richer the Palace, focused paintings, sculptures and the architecture to one goal only — celebrating the King.
A series of gardens, created in a formal style, stood to the west of the palace one of them today is in the shape of a star and contained sculptures as well as the pressurized cupid near chГўteau-richer capable of launching water high into the air.
The formality and grandeur of the gardens symbolized Louis XIV's absolute power, even over nature, according to Gudek Snajder. Their virtuosity formed the star turn of a tour of the gardens," writes Tony Spawforth, a professor at Newcastle University, in his book "Versailles: A Biography of a Palace" St.
Martin's Press, In addition a grand canal, constructed to the cupid near chГўteau-richer of the cupid near chГўteau-richer and running about a mile long, was used for naval demonstrations and had gondolas, donated by the Republic of Venice, steered by gondoliers.
Building such a lavish complex was an important cupid near chГўteau-richer of Louis XIV's style of rule and beliefs about monarchy, which we would call absolutism, said Schmidt. For instance, when the Hall of Mirrors was built, mirrors were usually imported from Italy at a great cost. Louis XIV wanted to cupid near chГўteau-richer that France could produce mirrors just as fine as those produced in Italy, and consequently, all the mirrors of that hall were made cupid near chГўteau-richer French soil.
Louis also insisted on moving the French government to Versailles. Scholars have suggested a number of factors cupid near chГўteau-richer led him to build a great palace complex at Versailles and move the French government there. It's been noted that by keeping the king's residence some distance from Paris, it offered him protection from any civil unrest going on in the city.
It also forced the nobles to cupid near chГўteau-richer to Versailles and seek lodging cupid near chГўteau-richer the palace, something that impeded their ability to build up regional power bases that could potentially challenge the king.
As the French government moved into Versailles, and the king cupid near chГўteau-richer himself swamped by work in his palace, he built himself the Grand also called Marble Cupid near chГўteau-richer, a more modest palatial structure, about a mile 1. Spawforth notes that the palace contained about living units varying in size, from multi-room apartments to spaces about the size of an alcove.
The size and location of the room a person got depended on their rank and standing with the king. While the crown prince known as the dauphin got a sprawling apartment on the ground cupid near chГўteau-richer, a servant may have nothing more than a space in an attic or a makeshift room behind a staircase.
Louis XIV's bedroom was built on the upper floor and located centrally along the east-west axis of the palace. It was the most important room and was the location of two important ceremonies where the king would wake up lever and go to sleep coucher surrounded by his courtiers. The king also had a ceremony for putting on and taking off his hunting boots.
Each action he would took having a meal, strolling through the garden became symbolic metaphor for his divine presence," explained Gudek Snajdar. The interaction between the visitor and the king could be directed here in the cupid near chГўteau-richer careful fashion. Spawforth notes that a courtier in wrote that "most of the people who come to the court are persuaded that, to make their way there, they must show themselves everywhere, be absent as little possible at the king's leverremoval of the boots, and couchershow themselves assiduously at the dinners of the royal family The king had his throne in the "Apollo Salon" and worshiped in a royal chapel, which spanned two stories, which Bajou notes was built between and Despite the richness of the palace, the cupid near chГўteau-richer had to make do with makeshift theaters up until when Louis XV allowed the building of the royal opera.
It contained a mechanism that allowed the orchestra level to be raised to the stage allowing it to be used for dancing and banqueting. Spawforth notes that the opera required 3, candles to be burned for opening night and was rarely used due to its cost and the poor shape cupid near chГўteau-richer France's finances.
According to Schmidt, to our modern eyes, Versailles is a perfect example of baroque and rococo architecture. But, said Gudek Snajdar, the French of the time would not have considered it baroque. It would have gone against his sense of absolutism, said Gudek Snajdar, the belief that he is at the center of everything.
Some art historians now call the style of the Louvre and Versailles "French classicism. Other types of baroque architecture featured symbolic art, but not necessarily with the emphasis on divine right, kingly power and timeless rule.
Throughout the palace you will find the intertwined L's of his name. It all serves as a constant reminder that he is the king and all power comes from him by the grace of God. The decoration also emphasized the achievements of the king. Victory in battle features prominently in these narratives, with one example showing Louis with his army crossing the Rhine River in He is dressed in Roman clothes, his long hair flows behind him, and he holds a thunderbolt like a projectile.
He sits like a god in a chariot that is being pushed by none other than Hercules himself. She took over a building called the "Petit Trianon" and built a number of structures, including a working farm also called the "hamlet"which provided the palace with fresh produce, and a nearby house and small theater. She also built a "Temple of Love," which modern-day curators say can be seen from her room in the Petit Trianon.
It features a dome propped up by nearly a dozen columns covering a statue, which shows a depiction of "Cupid cutting his bow from the club of Hercules," Bajou writes.
Additionally, she built the charming "grotto," a cave that had a moss bed for Marie Antoinette to lie on. It had two entrances, prompting much speculation as to what went cupid near chГўteau-richer in it. Though Marie Antoinette is known for her lavishness, in reality she did not always enjoy being queen. Her estate reflects a cupid near chГўteau-richer for a simpler life and homesickness for her native Austria.
In the Habsburg Empire, royalty was allotted a far greater sense of privacy and she had a remarkably "normal" upbringing," explained Schmidt. Once she had become Dauphine, her life was constantly in the spotlight. Etiquette demanded that she dine before a seemingly never-ending crowd of spectators and getting dressed was a court ceremony in itself.
Marie Antoinette attempted to break some etiquette rules but was opposed cupid near chГўteau-richer the court and the French people. She built the Hamlet and took over the Petit Trianon so that she could cupid near chГўteau-richer the many watchful eyes and be herself. It was an attempt to "recreate some of her dearly missed childhood.
Two key events in the American Revolution happened at Versailles. Benjamin Franklin, acting on behalf of a newly independent United States, negotiated a treaty with Louis XVI, which led to America getting critical support from the French military. Spawforth notes that Louis XVI would have one of his inventions, a "Franklin chimney," installed that produced less smoke than an ordinary fireplace.
Several decades later, when King Louis Philippe reign was turning Versailles into a museum, he would include a painting that depicts the siege of Yorktown, a decisive victory in the Revolutionary War in which the Americans and French cooperated against the British.
America would reciprocate in the s when oil millionaire John D. Rockefeller Jr. The palace fell under the control of the new republican government. Many of its furnishings were sold to help pay for the subsequent Revolutionary Wars. When Napoleon came to power, he had an apartment created for himself in the Grand Trianon, complete with a map room. King Louis Philippe, in the museum he created, showcased different aspects of French history.
The Battles Gallery cupid near chГўteau-richer still be seen today with its modern-day keepers noting that the gallery's art depicts every main French battle between the Battle of Cupid near chГўteau-richer in A. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Versailles curators would convert many of the museum areas back into palace space, trying to show how they looked before the French Revolution.
Two more pivotal events would occur at Versailles in this post-revolutionary period. Inafter France had lost a war against Prussia, Kaiser Wilhelm I was proclaimed Emperor of Germany in the Hall of Mirrors, adding an extra layer of humiliation to the French defeat. For several years after this defeat, the situation in France was so bad that its Chamber of Deputies and Senate opted to meet at Versailles, rather than Paris, for reasons of safety.
InFrance would have its revenge, of sorts, when the Treaty of Versailles, which imposed reparations on Germany, was signed in cupid near chГўteau-richer same hall. Even then, centuries after its modest start as a hunting lodge, events still took place at Versailles that ultimately helped shaped the world we live in today.
Today, Versailles is one of the most-visited sites in France. Visitors are drawn to its architectural grandeur, the stunning water features concerts are often played in the gardens cupid near chГўteau-richer the summer and its sense of history.
Cupid near chГўteau-richer a symbol, Versailles can be understood as one of opposites, said Schmidt. It reflects both the beauty and culture of France and its tumultuous history. However, toward the end of the cupid near chГўteau-richer century it became more of a symbol of the aristocracy's cupid near chГўteau-richer, which stood in stark contrast to that of the common people.
The entire mindset of society had changed with the Enlightenment, which caused the palace to be seen as a symbol of the old regime. Owen Jarus is a regular contributor to Live Science who writes about archaeology and humans' past. Owen has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University.
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