The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, which began as a small lodge for Louis XIII in the middle of the forest for hunting and other types of activities, later became the official royal residence under Louis XIV. Nowadays it is a museum with more than 60,000 works of art, which have captured a significant period in the history of France.
Royal Gate and north wing of the Palace of Versailles
The Royal Gate, on the left, separates the Royal Courtyard from the "Cour d’Honneur" (Honor Courtyard). Behind the gate, a corner of the Palace’s North Wing can be seen, corresponding to the façade of the Gabriel Pavilion, commissioned by Louis XV and began by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, with the dedicatory "A toutes les gloires de la France" (To all the glories of France), and behind it stands the Royal Chapel, built in 1710. The statue next to the Royal Gate is entitled "La Paix" (Peace), and is a 1683 work by Jean-Baptiste Tuby, which personifies Peace as a woman holding a caduceus with wings and intertwined serpents in her left hand, and what appears to be a war trumpet pointing downwards on her right hand.
Detail of the Grille d'Honneur
This gate in the main entrance, known as the "Grille d’Honneur," separates the Place d’Armes from the Cour d’Honneur. You can see an alternative representation of the Royal Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of France under the House of Bourbon, with the crown of France on the crest, and a shield with only three fleurs-de-lis, which in heraldry relates to the "Modern France" from 1376. The scallop shells are a symbol frequently used in the collars of the Order of Saint Michael since its foundation by King Louis XI. Below, the medallion of the Order of Saint Michael and the cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit with the descending dove. On the sides, horns of plenty, or cornucopias, have been added with pineapples and other fruits, as well as the laurel leaves instead of the wings of the angels that were part of the original coat of arms. The letter H symbolizes the initial of the founder of the order of the Holy Spirit, Henryk Walezy, King of Poland, also known as Henry III of France; and the H alternates with the fleur-de-lis, as in the collar of the Order.
Equestrian statue of Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre
Statue of King Louis XIV, who commissioned the expansion of the original structure of the Palace of Versailles, began by his predecessor, Louis XIII. The bronze statue is located in the Place d’Armes of the palace.
Detail of the façade of the Palace of Versailles from the Marble Courtyard
In the clock you can see a solar symbol. Louis XIV was known as the "Sun King". In the Palace of Versailles you can notice some common elements with the designs prevalent in Florence, such as the three fleurs-de-lis in the Medici coat of arms, an element granted by Louis XI. Next to the giant on the right, there is a lion stepping on an orb, which the Medici also placed in various parts of Florence, such as on the façade of the Palazzo Vecchio, where you can also see the solar symbol next to the lions. The relation is more than artistic, since Louis XIII, owner of the incipient Palace of Versailles, was the son of Marie de’ Medici and Henry IV of France, one of the many ties between the House of Medici and the House of Bourbon.
Detail of the Mercury Room ceiling
The ceiling decoration from 1781 was performed by the brothers Gaspard Marsy and Balthazar Marsy. In this section, angels are represented carrying cornucopias, or horns of plenty, and branches of laurel, for which the Marsy brothers used stucco covered by gold leaf. Despite the angle of the photo you can still appreciate how the branches project from the ceiling forming arches, a particularly difficult task in stucco.
Busts in the Gallery of Great Battles
Busts of "Pierre-Claude Berbier du Metz" on the left, and "Jacques, Marquis of Castelnau, Marshal of France" on the right, with the cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit, in the Gallery of Great Battles, in the South Wing of the Palace of Versailles.
Royal Chapel of the Palace of Versailles
Photo of the two levels of the chapel; on the lower level you can see the altar and arcades, and on the upper tribune, between the Corinthian columns, the 1710 organ engraved with a depiction of King David, which Mozart himself played in his visit to Versailles in 1764. In this chapel it was also celebrated the marriage of Marie Antoinette of Austria and Louis-Auguste of Bourbon, Dauphin of France, and future Louis XVI. The chapel is a work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the same architect who designed the Hall of Mirrors, which can be seen in other photos.
Royal Chapel ceiling
The scene depicted on the ceiling, in the central part of the chapel, is known as "Dieu le Père dans sa gloire" (God the Father in his Glory), and is a work by Antoine Coypel. On the right, the cornice and architrave of the Royal Tribune, as elaborate as the Corinthian columns below them. The architect, Hardouin-Mansart, avoided employing transverse ribs in the structure so as to be able to present the full scene on the ceiling without divisions.
Madame Victoire's library
The Gallery of Great Battles
Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles
A corner of the Hall of Mirrors
A corner dedicated to art, with a depiction of a lyre with the crown of France, flanked by caducei with wings and intertwined serpents, as well as cornucopias. Below, a violin, a theater mask portraying dramatic art, and a painting palette. On the right, a book and a quill.
Candelabrum with pedestal in the Hall of Mirrors
Statue of Amphitrite
Bust of Louis XIV, King of France in the Diana Room
Detail of a chandelier in the Queen's antechamber
Madame Adélaïde's Cabinet
Statuette of Louis XIV from 1835
Detail of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV
Detail of the Diana Room ceiling
Council Cabinet in the King's Apartments
The armchair on the center dates from 1720-1725. The clock behind, which represents the Roman god Mars, is from 1754. On the sides, the porcelain and bronze jars are, on the left, the Mars’ jar from 1787; and on the right, Minerva’s jar, which is an accurate reconstitution of the original made in 1970, only the lid is the original one from 1787.
Chandelier of the Mercury Salon
Madame Victoire's Private Chamber
"Lit à la Turque" or Turkish bed from 1755 who supposedly belonged to Jeanne Bécu, better known as Madame du Barry; therefore its presence in this chamber seems to be a modern arrangement which would have been quite unsettling in the past, due to the disgust Madame Victoria, Marie Antoinette, and many mesdames of the court felt for Madame du Barry. The armchairs on the sides date from 1745, and the corner-piece from 1769.
Madame Adélaïde's chamber
A bed from 1775. The portrait in the background is of princess Adélaïde of France, known as Madame Adélaïde, daughter of Marie Leszczynska and Louis XV of France, and was made by Johann-Ernst Heinsius in 1785.
Madame Adélaïde's chamber, photo 2
Another area of Madame Adélaïde’s private quarters. The chest of drawers on the right dates from 1770. The statuettes on top of the chest of drawers are entitled "Meditation" and "Melancholy", and date from 1780.
Busts of the dukes of Longueville and Beaufort
Furniture in Madame Adélaïde's Grand Cabinet
The Queen's bedchamber
Madame Victoire's Second Antechamber
Statue of Bertrand du Guesclin in the North Wing of the palace
Chandelier and Princes' Staircase
The Latona Parterre
Apollo in his Chariot
Petit Trianon interior
The "Little Trianon", a neoclassical building from 1768 in the Estate of Trianon, to the north of the Grand Canal, is a work of architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. This building is usually associated with Marie Antoinette, although it was initially built for King Louis XV as a residence immersed in the gardens and isolated from the palace. Afterwards, in 1774, his grandson and successor Louis XVI, gives the Petit Trianon to Marie Antoinette, who uses it until 1789.