Sample Research Paper On The Palace Of Versailles

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Palace, Architecture, Song, Construction, Real Estate, Palace Of Versailles, Art, History

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/03/01


Versailles expresses exhaustively the idea of ​​the French absolutism. One can assume that the Palace of Versailles includes all existing canons of the Classical period. It is not only a perfect architectural monument, but also the most important symbol of the French cultural heritage. Palace of Versailles is connected with the idea of ​​the most significant and magnificent palace in the world, erected by the will of the monarch. Versailles’ palace and park ensemble are a recognized masterpiece of world heritage. It is quite young because it is only three and a half centuries. The Palace and Park of Versailles are one of the outstanding architectural ensembles in the history of world architecture. A galaxy of brilliant artists worked over this ensemble. They created a sophisticated architectural complex, which includes a monumental building of the palace and park facilities with a number of "small forms", and, most importantly, the park that is considered an exceptional one in its compositional integrity.


Versailles did not appear at once as an architectural and park ensemble; it was not created by one architect like many palaces of 17th-18thcenturies, which imitated it. At the end of the 16thcentury, Versailles was a small village in the forest, where Henry IV used to hunt sometimes. The ancient chronicles report that in the early 17th century, Versailles was a village with a population of about 500 people, and then a mill rose on the future site of the palace, surrounded by the stretched endless fields and marshes. In 1624, the architect Philibert Le Roy built a small hunting castle near the village called Versailles on behalf of Louis XIII. A medieval crumbling castle was beside it; it was a home of the ownership Gondi. Saint Simon calls this ancient castle of Versailles "house of cards" in his memoirs (Covington, 90). Soon the castle was rebuilt by the architect Lemercier by the order of the king. At the same time, Louis XIII bought a plot of Gondi with a half-ruined palace of the archbishop and took it to expand its fleet. Manor is located 17 kilometers away from Paris. It was a U-shaped structure with a moat in the plan. Front of the castle housed four buildings of stone and brick with metal bars on the balconies. Courtyard of the old castle, which had received later the name of Marmara, has survived to the present day. The first gardens of Versailles were defeated by Jacques Boisseau and Jacques de Ménoire.
In 1662, the construction of Versailles began according to Le Nôtre’s plan. André Le Nôtre (1613-1700) had already become famous as a builder of country estates with Regular Park (in Vaux-le-Vicomte, Co, Saint-Cloud, and others) ("Versailles.", 1). Interestingly, in the years 1655-1661, N. Fouquet, the largest financier of absolutist France, rebuilt his country castle with the design by the architect Louis le During. The main feature of the palace and park ensemble of Vaux-le-Vicomte became not the palace itself (at the time a rather modest), but the general principle of creating a country residence. Everything was turned into a giant park; and the architect gardener André Le Nôtre arranged artfully the surrounding areas. Palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte showed a new style of life of the French aristocrat - in nature, outside the walls close, crowded city. Louis XIV liked the Palace and park so much that he could not bear the thought that they were not his property. The French king immediately imprisoned Fouquet, and the architects Louis Le Vaud and André Le Nôtre commissioned the construction of his palace at Versailles. Architecture of Fouquet’s property was adopted as a model for Versailles. Retaining Palace of Fouquet, the king brought from him all that can be removed and taken away, even the orange trees and marble statues of the park.


Versailles, as the main residence of the king, was to exalt and glorify the boundless power of the French absolutism. However, this is not the only goal of the ideological content and artistic design of Versailles; it also has an outstanding importance for the history of world architecture. The builders of Versailles (the huge army of architects, artists, craftsmen and landscape art) were able to bring to it the enormous creative power of the French people, though they were bound to official regulations and forced to obey the requirements of the despotic king and his entourage (Rabinovitch, 398).
Features of construction of the Palace of Versailles as a strictly ordered a centralized system were based on the rule of the absolute compositional palace over all others, due to its general ideological concept. Three broad lines converge to the Radial Avenue of the city, forming a trident; they lead to the Palace of Versailles, which is located on a high terrace. Middleweight Prospect continues on the other side of the palace as the main avenue huge park. A strongly stretched rectangular building of the palace lies perpendicular to the main axis of the composition of the city and the park. Middleweight Prospect of the trident leads to Paris, the other two lead in the royal palace of Saint-Cloud and Co, connecting the home country residence of the king with different areas of the country.
The Palace of Versailles was built in three periods: the most ancient part, framing Marble courtyard, consists of the hunting palace of Louis XIII. The construction began in 1624, and subsequently, much was rebuilt. In 1668 – 1671, Louis Le Vauhad built up a new buildings facing the city along the axis of the middle beam trident. The side yard of the Marble Palace resembles the early construction of the 17th century French architecture with extensive Cour d'honneur, towers crowned by high roofs, and granularity forms and details. The construction was finished by Hardouin-Mansart, who in 1678 – 1687,increasedthe palace with an annex of two blocks in the south and north, 500 m long each; he also added the Mirror façade, a huge gallery of 73 meters in length with side rooms for War and Peace from the central part of the park. Next to the Hall of Mirrors, he arranged of the Sun King's bedroom close to Marmara court, where the axis converged the trident of the Avenue of the city. In the central part of the palace and around the Marmara yard, the apartments of the royal family and the ceremonial reception halls were grouped together. The court room, the guards, and the palace church were housed in the huge wings.
The architecture of the palace facades was created by Hardouin-Mansart features a large stylistic unity, especially from the park. A strongly stretched wide palace building blends well with the strict and geometrically regular layout of the park and natural surroundings. The second, front floor with large windows and arched openings strict proportions and details of orders of columns and pilasters between them, resting on a heavy rusticated basement stand out clearly in the composition of the facade. The building is crowned with a heavy attic floor of the palace, which tells about its monumentality and representativeness.
The different rooms of the palace can be distinguished by a variety of luxury finishes. They baroque motifs (round and oval medallions, cartouches complicated, fancy filling over the doors and piers) and expensive finishing materials (mirrors, chased bronze, marble, gilded wood carvings, precious woods) were widely used; the extensive use of decorative painting and sculpture were designed to impress the stunning splendor. Reception halls were dedicated to ancient gods: Apollo, Diana, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Their decoration reflected the symbolic meaning of these rooms associated with the glorification of the virtues and merits of the king and his family. Every room served for a particular purpose during balls and receptions: a place for banquets, games of billiards or cards, a concert hall, lounge for playing. In the hall of Apollo (see figure 1) is superior to the other luxury finishes because there was a royal throne – very high chair made of cast silver under a canopy (Mullaney, 73).
Figure 1. The Hall of Apollo
But the biggest and the most ceremonial room of the palace was the Hall of Mirrors. Here, magnificent views open through the wide arched of the main avenue of the park and the surrounding landscape. The inner space of the gallery is illusory expanded by the number of large mirrors placed in niches against the windows. Gallery interior is richly decorated with marble Corinthian pilasters and lush stucco cornice, which serves as a transition to more complex in composition and color scheme, as it was meant according to Lebrun.
The spirit of official solemnity prevailed in Versailles quarters. The rooms were luxuriously furnished. Thousands of candles lit in shining silver chandeliers in the mirror gallery; and noisy colorful crowd of courtiers filled the palace of the suite, reflected in the high mirrors. The Venetian ambassador, describing in his report of one of France's royal receptions in Versailles Mirror Gallery, said that there "was lighter than during the day", and that he "did not want to believe my eyes unprecedented bright dresses, men in feathers, women in the lush hairstyles." He likens this spectacle to a "dream" and an "enchanted kingdom." (Scott, 48).
The planning of Versailles’ gardens (see figure 2) by André Le Nôtre (in contrast to the architecture of the palace facades with a few baroque representation, as well as congested ornaments and gilded interiors), is the most outstanding example of the French regular park that is characterized by surprising purity and harmony of forms. Le Nôtre’s "green architecture" in the planning of the park and forms is the most consistent exponent of the classical aesthetic ideal. He saw a reasonable human activity in the natural environment object. The natural landscape of Le Nôtre converts perfectly clear, complete architectonic system based on the idea of ​​rationality and order.
Figure 2. Versailles’ gardens
The construction of the palace took about 30,000 workers and 25 million French livres, that in general comprised about 10 500 tones of silver (according to expert estimates, in terms of modern money, a sum equals to 259.56 billion Euros). This is despite the fact that the construction was carried out with the utmost frugality and at the lowest prices. Therefore, many fireplaces had worked subsequently, the windows did not close, and living in a palace during the winter was extremely uncomfortable (Mullaney, 72).
But the nobles were forced to live under the supervision of Louis, as well as those, who had left the Palace of Versailles, lost their ranks and privileges. A magnificent Hall of Mirrors or Gallery of Louis XIV occupies the entire facade of the Palace of Versailles from the garden; there was signed the Treaty of Versailles after the First World War. Here, under a vaulted ceiling with paintings Lebrun, representing great deeds of Louis XIV, the world-famous case of Georges Clemenceau was heard; he was accused of war crimes. Clemenceau won in this case, and all responsibility for war crimes laid to the German occupation command. There is the Salon of war at one side; and Salon of peace is situated in the opposite. Along the galleries, there are 17 windows, and there are mirrors in front of everyone ("The Versailles Room.", 60). Therefore, it seems that the walls disappear somewhere. A glance "jumps" again and again from the giant windows mirrors that show the water surface pools, to a variety of paint colors and the blue of the sky.
The king’s large apartments are placed in the northern side of the palace; they are divided into seven salons. The rooms of the first ladies are situated in the south. The main entrance goes through the gates of iron, decorated with gold lattice, which is crowned with the royal coat of arms and the crown.


The general view of the park opens from the side of the palace. From the main terrace, a wide staircase leads to the main axis of the composition of the ensemble to the Fountain of Latona; then the Königsallee, bordered by clipped trees, leads to the fountain of Apollo with a large oval swimming pool. The composition of the Royal alley ends with a huge water surface of the cruciform channel that stretches far to the horizon, or diverges with the prospects alleys that are surrounded by trees and clipped bosquet (Fisher, 49). Le Nôtre gave the park the east-west orientation, so it seems particularly gorgeous and radiant in the rays of the rising sun, reflected in the large channel and basins.
The organic unity of the layout of the park and the architectural appearance of the palace is a rich and varied sculptural decoration of the park. Versailles park sculpture is actively involved in the formation of the ensemble. Sculptural groups, statues, vases and herms with reliefs, many of which were created by outstanding sculptors of his time, close the prospects of green streets, squares and alleys frame, and form a complex and beautiful combination with a variety of fountains and pools (BERGER, 277). Park of Versailles, with its clearly expressed architectonic construction, the richness and variety of forms of marble and bronze sculptures, foliage of trees, fountains, pools, geometrically clear lines alleys and forms of lawns, flowerbeds, and bosquets, resembles a large "green city" with suites of various squares and streets . These "green suites" are perceived as a natural continuation and development of the internal space outside the palace. The architectural ensemble of Versailles is complemented by the Grand Trianon (see figure 3) designed by Hardouin-Mansart (1687 - 1688). It was an intimate royal residence. A special feature of this small but monumental in their appearance building is a one-storey buildings free asymmetrical composition; ceremonial reception rooms, galleries and accommodations are grouped around a small landscaped courtyard with a fountain. The central entrance of the Trianon is configured as a deep loggia with paired Ionic columns supporting the ceiling. Figure 3. The Grand Trianon
The Palace, and especially the park of Versailles with its wide promenade an abundance of water, light and foreseeable spatial scale, were a kind of magnificent "scenic area" for a variety of unusually colorful and pageantry - fireworks, illuminations, balls, ballet Divertimenti, performances, fancy marches, and channels for walks and festivals amusement fleet. When Versailles was under construction and had not yet become the official center of the state, its "entertainment" function prevailed. In the spring of 1664, the young monarch had established a series of celebrations under the romantic name "Pleasure of the charmed Island" in honor of his mistress Louise de la Valliere. In the beginning, these unique eight-day festivals exhibited almost all the arts; but it was still a lot of spontaneity and improvisation. Over the years, the festival took more ambitious and reached its apogee in the 1670s, when the Versailles reigned new favorite –a wasteful and brilliant Marquis de Montespan. In the stories of eyewitnesses, a glory of Versailles and its holiday spending had spread in other European countries. The biggest achievement of the French sculpture of the17th century was the Versailles palace complex, the creation of which was attended by the leading artists of the time - Girardon, Coysevox, Tubi, Marcy, Dujardin, Puget and others. The park sculpture is worthy of particular notice; its variety of themes created another Versailles Park’s title - an open air museum. However, each statue embodied a certain concept and a certain image; they were included in the total allegorical system, which served as the glorification of the monarchy.


The Palace of Versailles is one of the most important buildings in France. It symbolizes the monarchy; its greatness is indisputable and charming. Versailles can be compared with any other work of art, such as books, paintings, statues, music. But whether it is necessary to compare it with any other work of art, Versailles accommodates all kinds of art at the same time. It has its own story, it reveals a lovely, picturesque landscapes and lines; it has its own music. This music cannot be forgotten, because it is a symphony of the absolute Classicism.

Works Cited

BERGER, ROBERT W. "The Pyramid Fountain At Versailles." Studies In The History Of
Gardens & Designed Landscapes 30.3 (2010): 263-282. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Covington, Richard. "RENAISSANCE OF THE GARDENS OF Versailles." Smithsonian 32.4
(2001): 90. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Fisher, Franklin L. "The Palace Of Versailles, Its Park And The Trianons." National Geographic
Magazine 47.1 (1925): 49. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Mullaney, Marie Marmo. "Versailles: A Biography Of A Palace." Library Journal 133.15 (2008):
72-73. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Rabinovitch, Oded. "Versailles As A Family Enterprise: The Perraults, 1660-1700." French
Historical Studies 36.3 (2013): 385-416. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Scott, Phil. "In The Palace Of The Sun King." Historic Traveler 4.4 (1998): 48. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
"The Versailles Room." Metalsmith 30.4 (2010): 60-61. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16
Apr. 2015.
"Versailles." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

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