The Artwork of Versailles

A young Marie Antoinette.

A young Marie Antoinette. By Jean-Baptiste Charpentier le Vieux. Currently hanging in the second antechamber of the Dauphin.

I was going to write a blog post based on the pictures I’d taken of various artwork at the Chateau de Versailles. This was meant to complement the other two posts I’ve created to share the pictures I took at the palace.

However.

I stumbled upon Google Earth Project’s collection of Versailles’ art and was shamed into submission. Google has officially taken over the world. I’m aware this (meaning Google Art not Google world dominance, which is old news) is not something brand new, which is comforting since the end of the Mayan calendar is near. (This whole Google Art Project makes me fear that the end of the Mayan calendar will lead directly into the beginning of the Age of Google. A Google-apocalypse.)

Too bad I didn’t cotton on to the Google Art Project earlier. Everyone from the National Ballet of Canada to the Latvian National Museum of Art are part of this amazing effort.

Here’s the link to the collection of the Chateau de Versailles: http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/palace-of-versailles/

And here, you can do a walk-through of the palace: http://www.googleartproject.com/collection/palace-of-versailles/museumview/

The entirety of the collection is, naturally, worth a look. You can click on the pictures to zoom in, and click details to get some in-depth information about each artwork. Many of them also have educational videos included.

I admit to being most interested in the portraits, especially the ones of people I don’t know well, such as Louis de France, Duke of Burgundy or Maria Leszczinska. But it’s good to see better-known portraits like this one of Louis XIV, or this one of Marie Antoinette and her family.

Read more . . .

A very important portrait to the Affair of the Diamond Necklace is also included in the Google Art Project: Marie Antoinette with the rose. This is the repainted version–in the original, she was wearing a simple white dress, which was considered pretty darn scandalous (I wrote blog post about these two portraits and their significance).

I’m obviously effusive about the artwork at Versailles. Not only is it a place of great architectural grandeur, it’s also filled to the brim with beautiful artwork.We can’t all get to Versailles, and even if we could, it’s really hard to take good pictures of the artwork. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Not all the artwork at the Chateau is included. Here are a few that also hang there:

Marie Antoinette Hunting by Louis Auguste Brun.  In the petit appartements de la reine, in the billiard room. I believe these rooms are not open to the public.

Marie Antoinette Hunting by Louis Auguste Brun. In the petit appartements de la reine, in the billiard room. I believe these rooms are not open to the public.

Madame Adelaide (daughter of Louis XV, aunt of Louis XVI) by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in Versailles in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Adelaide (daughter of Louis XV, aunt of Louis XVI) by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in Versailles in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Louis XIV as a child. I couldn't find an artist or where it is currently hanging--but it is in Versailles.

Louis XIV as a child. I couldn’t find an artist or where it is currently hanging–but it is in Versailles.

The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David and Georges Rouget. Hanging in the Coronation Room at Versailles.

The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David and Georges Rouget. Hanging in the Coronation Room at Versailles.

Madame Sophie by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Sophie by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Louise by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Louise by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Adelaide by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Seconde Antichambre du Dauphin.

Madame Adelaide by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Seconde Antichambre du Dauphin.

Madame Victoire by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

Madame Victoire by Jean-Marc Nattier. Hanging in the Grand Cabinet du Dauphin.

The ladies above (Adelaide, Sophie, and Victoire)  were known often as Mesdames Tantes–The Aunts. They were the daughters of Louis XV and aunts of Louis XVI and remained unmarried. The lovely portraits above were painted when the ladies were young (obviously). Madame Sophie died at Versailles in 1782; her sisters Victoire and Adelaide fled France during the rising Revolution and died in Trieste, Italy in 1799 and 1800 respectively. [Thank you, Angela, for the correction!]

I hope this little art history lesson was enjoyable!

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9 thoughts on “The Artwork of Versailles

  1. Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think
    its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  2. I think only Sophie died in Versailles. Adelaide and Victoire fled to Italy during the revolution and died there.

  3. It’s great to know google art project from your post. Really amazing source~Thanks!

    Early this month I also went to versaille, I was still wondering why the hair color of those young girls in some paintings(like what you provided above) is in grey?

    • Men and women powdered their hair (sometimes their natural hair, sometimes wigs) so it looked gray or white. It was simply the fashion! The powder they used was usually made from flour or corn starch.

      • But why in grey? Is it because those powerful figures are in their mid age and their hairs are grey, so everyone else wants the similar mature look? or some other reasons..

      • I’m not sure there’s any *particular* reason. Just like with any fashion, you can never quite explain why a thing caught on.

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