Careful! Allegory At Versailles


Why does Crystal Gallery avoid a direct look at the events it describes? Let us examine closer the two medallions and an octagon which frame the first section of the epic narrative of the ceiling: the humiliation of the Turkish army by a small French contingent in Hungary…,

then the recognition of the French supremacy by the Spain in Holland; obviously we cannot be too graphic, for both pictures may have some serious geopolitical repercussions and so the depictions require caution: after all, yesterday’s enemies are tomorrow’s allies…,

 …as for the suppression of duels, this effort had been under way already in 1547 when Henry II, upon the death of his favorite, made all the dueling illegal. Louis XIII declared war on the custom, and after count Montmorency-Bouteville fought his twenty-third duel, both he and his second are captured and beheaded. 

This singular performative act could not deter all the other duelists. The last known duel has been fought as late as 1967 and today you can watch it on YouTube by tapping the names of Rene Ribiere and Gaston Deferre.

So, what choice does the Sun King have, but to speak about these matters allegorically, that is differently, through the alembic of that alchemist, the First Court Painter, Le Brun, touching upon the events so gingerly, as if with a brush.

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This entry was posted in Allegory at Chateau Versailles, Chateau Versailles, Duels, Louis XIV. Bookmark the permalink.

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