Enfin, Paris!: Oh my Versailles, ces choses2 sottes

The Hall of Mirrors is dizzying with detail. This is THE portable throne!!!

Because there is more than you would expect, I had to divide the blog into two posts! As I have never really looked at these shots done a year ago, I figured I could only move forward with Perú and Austria, if only I took some time to process Paris. I have a soft spot for Paris, and the French.

There is detail after detail in the royal apartments. I cannot believe the use of repetition handsomely used throughout.

There is always this sense of light that goes on. There is always the feeling of being inside and outside at the same time. That sensibility that you get from Joseph Losey’s English films. I wonder what it would be like to be there in the winter months with snow?

I am kind of dumb on this one. I have a sense of Baroque, especially with Spanish architecture and Italian painting. I also have a sense of the period of Rococo. I believe Versailles, at least in its interiors is more rococo, than baroque, since that restrain and sense of scale which is more human. Anyone wanting to comment, please. The right one reminds me of the Vatican apartments.

Fit for a king.

I was so dumb, I thought this was Rubens and van Dyke!

The bedrooms are amazing, what pomp. Imagine walking up to those ceilings, chandeliers, that light from outside. I have heard Louis XIV, had his courtiers come in and help him chose his get-up for the day! What a great way to keep them from plotting! Bottom photo right shows ostrich plumes above the bed.

You have to divorce yourself from its wonder sometime, that this lifestyle was at the expense of millions of others, which what leads to revolutions in the first place. Remember this ostentation eventually ended abruptly and violently, with another period of nonsense royalty imbetween, violence with the Communards and finally more war.

One looks sadly at the bedroom of the queen, knowing her awful end with another Louis. In Anonymous, Vanessa Redgrave gave us a glimpse of what paranoia may have looked like for the royals. We imagine them as fixed and arrogant in their ways, easier to dehumanize through legend, than realize as real people.

Whimsical detail in a ceiling.

The Napoleonic throne (left) is so ostentatious and gaudy, I thought first of the old “Imperial” margarine ads. Or the painting by Kehinde Wiley with Ice T on the throne. Don’t these remind you of gold teeth and hip hop nameplates? 

It is said Napoleon spent little time in Versailles and many art treasures were shipped elsewhere. Within this Coronation Room, the goofy Imperial period which had such greats as David and Baron Gros (the two housed here, no Ingres though) doing this cinemascopic painting of his illustrious reign are amusing, and the room filled with people as if celebrities were being visited. Extremely contentious to shoot, many people, movement and light.

Jean Sebastien Rouillard’s Napoléon Bonaparte, Général en Chef de l’Armée d’Italie (top left); Copy of Jacques-Louis David’s
Le couronner du Josephine d’Impératrice par Napoléon dans Notre-Dame de Paris sur le 2 décembre 1804 (The crowning of the Empress Josephine by Napoleon in Notre-Dame of Paris on 2 December 1804) (detail, top right; bottom)

Baron Antoine-Jean Gros’ The Battle of Abukir (believe it is the original).

Restoration going on, look how many fit into a room.

Space is piled upon space.

A final look at the exterior.

This is what struck me after I came out (above). I realized where Ringling had taken and developed the patio deck fort Ca’ d’Zan (above left). All that pressure washing and all that gold. A little bit of what it used to be see in the photo on the right, where there is no presence of gilding.

Another dumb American, but I was lucky. I have seen Versailles twice in my life. Versailles is one of those places, I hope you have had the luck to see, too.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles

or http://www.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

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