Semiotic Codes of Versailles


IMGI have already discussed some of the semiotic codes of Versailles — fans and birthmarks; and in the context of a painting by Antonine Watteau, Cousin, I have mentioned the language of flowers. Today I would like to illustrate how that language actually worked. Let’s take a concrete example of setting up an appointment. Generally, if a lady displays blue-bells, she means to meet you at dawn; but if she shows up with a bouquet of white roses, expect her by noon; a faded rose stands for lunch time; an orange blossom suggests 4 p.m.; violets — after dinner; and four-o’clock flower signifies midnight. Finally, when we see a gentleman pacing nervously in the park, we have to assume a case of very bad communication: perhaps he got the wrong idea and the index simply was not there — a rose is a rose; or, what could be worse, it wasn’t intended for him?

Other codes: Fans, Birthmarks.

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About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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