King empire

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A scene from the Palace of Versailles.

Mohammad Yusuf, Feature Writer

ABU DHABI: Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced its first international exhibition of 2022 titled Versailles & the World (January 26 — June 4). Organized in partnership with the National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, with the support of France Museums, the exhibition presents the history of the royal court at Versailles.

Visitors will discover more than 100 works of art from the collections of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Royal Collection Trust of the United Kingdom and 17 French lenders, including the National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, as well as an extensive program cultural.

In the 17th century, the Palace of Versailles, the greatest legacy of “Sun King” Louis XIV (1638-1715 CE), became the world’s most opulent royal playground, its size and splendor reflecting the power and l absolute influence of the king.

Louis XIV spent 72 years on the throne; during this time, he succeeded in making France the most powerful state in Europe and the Palace of Versailles an international symbol of French refinement and prestige.


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By focusing on the reception, interpretation and appropriation of foreign cultures by the court at a time of scientific emulation, the exhibition also explores how the Palace of Versailles became a melting pot of intellectual encounters and cultural exchanges between the French monarchy, the court and abroad. ambassadors and diplomatic missions during the reign of three French monarchs: Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.

Versailles & le monde is organized by Hélène Delalex, Heritage Curator and Bertrand Rondot, Chief Heritage Curator in the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department of the National Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon, with the support of Dr Souraya Noujaim, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Scientific Director, Curator and Collections Management.

Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “This exhibition sheds new light on the intricate web of diplomacy, commerce and creativity that has helped shape culture in an age of globalization.

Seven-branch candelabra from the Palace of Versailles.

“It is a pleasure to highlight the synergies between the historic role played by the Palace of Versailles, a place where people from different cultures have come together, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating of the diverse cultures of the world in our capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

Delalex and Rondot note that “curiosity was the engine of Versailles in the 17th and 18th centuries. Countries beyond Europe were seen as places of wonder but also of scientific discovery.

“This fascination has often expressed itself most eloquently in the fine and decorative arts where ideas and motifs have been appropriated, not only from the Islamic and Eastern worlds, but from other European nations such as the ‘England and Italy.’

Noujaim said: “In this exhibition, Louvre Abu Dhabi invites visitors to discover the court of Versailles and its perspectives on the world. Intended for those who know Versailles and those who do not know it, it shows how the arts were inspired by other lands and reflects the fascination of the French court for these distant countries, as well as the ambivalent, even competitive relations, that she had with them.

The narrative of the exhibition is presented in three chapters, namely A Palace Open to the World: Visitors to Versailles, where Louis XIV made Versailles a theater of daily spectacle for all his courtiers, subjects and visitors from all over the world. Detailed accounts of receptions given to foreign ambassadors are published along with images of their outfits, customs, and appearance, helping to spread a taste for the exotic in fashionable society.

The Orient Revealed and the Orient as Reverie: Exoticism at Versailles, specifies that from the first years of the reign of Louis XIV, the taste for exoticism spread to the court of France, fueled by literature and stories. travelers who had ventured into the Ottoman Empire. Empire, Africa, America and Asia.

The attraction reached its height between 1704 and 1717 following the French translation by Antoine Galland (1646-1715) of the Thousand and One Nights, and resulted in the popularity of fashionable styles such as chinoiserie and turcie, inspired by cultures from China. and the Ottoman Empire.

The general taste for the turcies in the 1770s led to the creation of several Turkish boudoirs at court, one of the most famous being that of Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, fitted out between 1774-1776.

Between Heaven and Earth: Discovering the World notes that the European fascination with foreign cultures coincided with a phase in history that saw the European gaze become increasingly global.

The Old Regime was a time of great exploration, spurred in part by rivalry between European nations. Commanded and encouraged by Louis XIV, maritime expeditions set sail for distant lands and oceans in search of new geographical, botanical, faunal, cartographic and astronomical discoveries, while inspiring artists and artisans.

The exhibits, which include around 30 paintings, more than 40 works on paper, books and manuscripts, sculptures and numerous pieces of decorative art such as porcelain, tableware, silverware, bronze gilt and furniture, were loaned from France, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

The Palace of Versailles, a famous World Heritage Site listed by Unesco since 1979, is both a royal residence, a museum of French history created by King Louis-Philippe and a national palace which hosted the Parliament French. in Congress.

In addition to its three historic residences – the Palace, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon – the estate of Versailles is home to a large Baroque garden designed by André Le Nôtre with groves and fountains, the gardens of Trianon and the Hamlet of Marie-Antoinette, a park wooded area located beyond the Grand Canal, and the royal domain of Marly since 2009.

Stretching over more than 800 hectares, the estate of Versailles invites visitors to admire its collections made up of more than 60,000 works including paintings, furniture, old books, drawings, sculptures, prints, objects of art and carriages.