Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Palace of Versailles - Versailles, France

The Apollo Fountain - Versailles, France 

The Royal palace in Versailles was the seat of power in France from 1682 during the reign of King Louis XIV. It was originally a hunting lodge but was expanded in to a palace in 4 separate phases of building. King Louis XIV's decision to move the court from Paris to Versailles was based on his need to extract more control over the government from the nobility. The Royal family was forced to return to Paris in October 1789, once the French revolution started.

More images and info after the jump.

The Palace of Versailles - Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles - Versailles, France

The palace was designed by an architect named Louis Le Vau while gardens were laid out by Andre Le Notre and the interior decorator was Charles Le Brun. The Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, stayed at Versailles during his visit in May 1717. He studied the Palace and gardens during his visit and this inspired Peterhof, on the Bay of Finland, west of St Petersburg. 

Interior Detail - Palace of Versailles
Interior Detail - Palace of Versailles

Getting into the Palace was a bit time consuming as tour groups have an allocated time and  for some reason or the other they were running late. When we actually went in, it was very crowded and you were hustled along from one room to the next. We had a good tour guide and she described the rooms and pointed out a number of the more important pieces of art and architectural features of the palace. 

A ceiling - Palace of Versailles
A ceiling - Palace of Versailles 

The Museum of the history of France was founded at the Palace in the 19th Century. A number of the rooms were taken over to house art collections.  The hall of Battles was also created to display works depicting famous battles in French history. The palace is now home to a number of masterpieces by artists such as Delacroix, David and Renoir. One of my favourite paintings, "The coronation of Napoleon" by Jacques Louis David can also be seen at the Palace (there are two versions of this painting, the second one is at the Louvre) .

A Ceiling - Palace of Versailles
A Ceiling - Palace of Versailles

An exhibition of Japanese modern art was on when we visited the Palace of Versailles. We were very disappointed with it as placed in the middle of every room were these huge, hideous objects which took  away from the interiors of the palace. I obviously don't appreciate Japanese modern art but I feel that there is a place for everything. The Palace of Versailles was definitely not the place for Japanese Modern art. Imagine seeing a massive Pokemon-esque character in the middle of the hall of mirrors.

The Palace of Versailles - Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles - Versailles, France

These images were captured with a Canon 7D and a 24-105mm lens.

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