Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Palace of Versailles

The site of the famous Palace of Versailles was once the site of Louis XIII’s hunting ground. The town that would grow around the Palace was little more than a village. Louis XIII built a hunting lodge on this site in 1623.

Louis XIV had the lodge renovated when he took over as king. Louis Le Vau made alterations to the building, then called Petit Chateau. The marble courtyard that is the entry of the building has survived to this day. He used red bricks as the main building material, similar to the facade of the Place Royale. In time, Louis XIV sought more space. He surrounded Petit Chateau on three sides facing westward. In 1682, when the royal family moved here permanently even more additions were desired. Architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart replaced the once terrace that faced the gardens with the hall of mirrors. And supplied a north and south wing to the building. The garden façade is composed of white stone, as opposed to the red brick of the opposing front façade. The Royal Chapel was one of the king’s last additions to the Palace in 1710.

The king’s favorite place on the estate was the garden, with a symmetrical design and 14,000 fountains. The fountains are fed by water pipes underground, the original system is still in use.


Baroque and Rococo Art and Architecture, by Robert Neuman

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