This paper is a detailed look at the history of the palace at Versailles.
This paper discusses the art and architectural history of Louis XIV’s opulent palace at Versailles. The author examines the palace itself and its gardens both from an architectural point of view and as a political statement. The paper describes how the decorative styles of the grounds and castle reflected the power and demanding nature of its main inhabitant, the self-proclaimed `Sun King`.
While the explicit purpose of Versailles was to glorify king and country, it also glorifies at least implicitly the architect who translated the king’s vision. By 1674, when Monsart was commissioned to rebuild the ch?teau of Clagny for Louis XIV’s mistress Madame de Montespan, he was already launched on a brilliant career. In 1675 Mansart became official architect to the king and from 1678 on was occupied with redesigning and enlarging the palace of Versailles, for which he directed a legion of collaborators, proteges, and artisans. Mansart began his own work by using the plans of architect Louis Le Vau, and to these plans built the new Hall of Mirrors, the Orangerie, the Grand Trianon, and the north and south wings and at the time of his death he was working on the chape. Each element was designed to magnify the sense of Louis’s own power and the wealth and sophistication of France.