Louis XIV's Versailles

Guy Walton, Author University of Chicago Press $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-226-87254-4
The nature of Louis XIV's huge household, numbering hundreds of members, was a basic reason for transforming Louis XIII's small hunting lodge into a vast palace. Versailles, pinnacle of French design, was meant to be a new Rome, a European art capital; its large art collection would serve as training ground for the whole of Europe. Louis XIV also wanted Versailles to be a triumph of technology, yet, through faulty building techniques, some walls became hollow as their soft fill settled. In this revealing architectural and social history of Versailles, New York University fine arts professor Walton shows how the omnipresent Sun King impressed his personality on his palatial residence, cutting through the red tape of architects, craftsmen and adminstrators. Despite the opulence intended, adhering to a budget was an important consideration. A structure built to house and feed several hundred household members, a new chapel, inlaid furniturethese were added in stages in accordance with the Sun King's belief that rational planning could conquer all obstacles. More than 150 prints and photographs enliven the text. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Paperback - 978-0-226-87255-1
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