The Twelve Caesars


People often ask me when shuffling along the hallways of Chateau Versailles, “Are those allegorical figures?” Not exactly, no, but these are excellent examples of XVII century kitsch. The Italian workshops have flooded Europe with art for mass consumption. The figures are known as the Twelve Caesars. Louis XIV has inherited his twelve from Cardinal Mazarin. Mazarini, some historians claim, might have been Louis’ real father; but for the purposes of this story, I should only mention that the cardinal wanted the king to inherit all of his collection. Had Louis accepted, he would be taking away from the nieces and nephew of the cardinal, so he refused. But for some reason he kept the TwelveDuring the Revolution most of Versailles antiques were taken to Louvre, the furniture and the stuff without any objective value was sold at a giant garage sale held at the stables. The Chateau Versailles curators are still trying to track it all down; many items were lost or have settled in museums and private collections around the world. The XVII century Caesars returned, but their numbers have grown; so, today we have more than twenty of them scattered all over the hallways. 

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This entry was posted in Chateau Versailles, Louis XIV, Mazarin, Royal Stables. Bookmark the permalink.

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