Category Archives: Versailles


“Et in Arcadia ego.” At the end of his essay on Poussin’s painting, Irwin Panofski mentions Goethe. Goethe’s travel journal made use of that Latin expression  in a different way — “Me too I’ve been to Arcadia” seems to say … Continue reading

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Anish Kapoor and Versailles

A couple of days ago Anish Kapoor invaded the historical park of Versailles; and the reaction of the press was as negative as it had ever been on such occasions. I think it was something he said about his installation … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary Art, French Revolution, Gardens and Park, Versailles | 2 Comments

A New Fountain

It is commonly believed that men lead in a dance; or at least generations of skillful female dancers gave us that impression; for in those dances where the sequence of steps is a bewildering multitude, men are commonly at a … Continue reading

Posted in Chateau Versailles, Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art at Chateau Versailles, Court, Courtiers, Gardens and Park, Versailles | Leave a comment

Versailles Easter

This chocolate portrait of Louis XIV decorates the shop window at 82 rue de la Paroisse. Easter came and went and I’ve just checked, nobody bought it. It is not hollow — thirty-two-kilo-solid chunk. Even if you had a party … Continue reading

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March, Ben Franklin Meets Louis XVI

22 March 1778, it was cold and Benjamin Franklin was dressed in a brown velvet outfit but had neither a wig nor sword about him as he entered the Crystal Gallery where the court, ambassadors and all the twenty Americans … Continue reading

Posted in American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin at Versailles, Court, Courtiers, Louis XVII, Versailles | 3 Comments

On the Inside of a Grand Piano

In the Renaissance Italy the insides of footlockers were often painted, and sometimes  those pictures were of nude women; perhaps this is why Titian’s Venus of Urbino has an open trunk in the background? Rumor had it that the XVII … Continue reading

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A Picture for the Frame

If Van Loo is the court painter of Louis XV, then Boucher is the court painter of Pompadour. Only he is not a court painter, for there is not a single Boucher portrait at Versailles. This is why we recognize … Continue reading

Posted in Court, Courtiers, Louis XV, Louvre, Madame Pompadour, Versailles | Leave a comment


These days you can see at the Louvre the portrait of Lady Alston by Thomas Gainsborough. Well, I did. A disturbing experience! Because of the heavy gilded shells that surround the canvas. They distracted me: Versailles is stamped all over … Continue reading

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The First Queen of Versailles

From a very early age and in spite of an ongoing bloody war between her country and that of her future husband, Marie-Thérèse never doubted her destiny as the Queen of France. She was a little short, a little plump, … Continue reading

Posted in Court, Louis XIV, Marie-Antoinette, Versailles | Leave a comment

Smoking at Versailles

“A Smoking Party” was a common XVII century pass-time; yet the presence of a sleeping figure in the center of the composition begs a question about the contents of those pipes; and since any kind of vapor may represent a … Continue reading

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