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Chapel of Versailles - 300 years exhibition

Until the end of the Ancien Regime, the chapel of Versailles was the most famous place for religious ceremonies of the court of France. An exhibition celebrates its tercentenary, illuminates the extraordinary richness of its decoration and remind the magnificence of his property removed. His story is gorgeous. The chapel at Versailles is a special building for its architecture as for its scenery. Its construction, spread over twelve long years - 1698-1710 - making it a monument of transition between the seventeenth and eighteenth century, at a time when the power does not change but which taste is changing rapidly. The chapel is located on the fringes of the movement of French art and even of European religious art. Because of very strict rules have led to its special formulation: they wanted to do the extraordinary, and even the wonderful because we had both honor God and King. The political ends have played a big role here. The daily Mass, to which Louis XIV was present more often than his platform, was a pretext for a procession that took place around the king's Flat. "Going and returning from Mass, he spoke to wanted after saying the captain of the guards, if not distinguished people," wrote Saint-Simon. During this procession, a solemn and familiar at the same time, it happened to Louis XIV to launch itself a new, as this day of July 1684 when he announced, very satisfied, a twenty-year truce with the Emperor Leopold I, the truce of Regensburg. Delegations that had not been hearing, as envoys of Algiers in 1681, seized the opportunity to worship in its path. It also happened that an incident disturbs the order of procession, as during the harsh winter of 1711 when a groom fell dead at his feet. During the Mass, they sang anthems and, for the birth of children of France or in connection with military victories, we played the Te Deum. On holidays, including Christmas, the show was even more grandiose, that the bad language of Saint-Simon is forced to recognize. Louis XIV was the first to introduce an orchestra in a sacred precinct, three bays of seats received 90 singers who interpreted the works of Lully and Delalande. With age, the piety of the king becoming more evident, he also attended the vespers, the salutes, the sermons and ordered to Brissac, Major of the Guards, "let him know the names of those who caused the mass . For even during religious ceremonies, the label who ruled life at Versailles was causing quarrels: François de La Rochefoucauld declined to attend the sermon claiming "he could not settle to go, as the last of the Court, seek a place at the officer who distributed them and do it early to have a good ". Saint-Simon, once again, told how the search made by the great ladies feast days when they had the honor of being singled out by the Queen and the Dauphine was originally an ugly dispute between the princesses and duchesses of Lorraine. The chapel, however, had to remain a sanctuary to the glory of God. It is clear that in 1682 the idea of replacing the first chapel, which was near the apartment of the queen, by a larger building. The enormous costs caused by the war of the League of Augsburg will force the king to postpone this project for ten years. Mansart, who is the chief architect, the device rejects the usual cross-shaped plan: he draws a simple rectangle terminated by a semicircle. The intention is very clear: the plan of the chapel of Versailles, taking up one of the Sainte-Chapelle, a tribute to St. Louis. He belonged in fact to Louis the Great to renew the act's most pious Christian of his predecessors, especially since the "L" could be crowned with an allusion to Louis IX as well as Louis XIV. The dedication was held June 5, 1710, while the decoration work is far from complete. But it soon becomes apparent that we have here is an artistic renewal: we can no longer speak of "Louis XIV, even late, but youthful style. This is partly due to artists who work for the chapel : Antoine Coypel, who painted most of the vault, will become one of Regent's favorite painters. Claude Audran, who heads the glazing, will be a master of Watteau. Charles de La Fosse, who was chosen by Louis XIV himself, uses colors that evoke the Venetian painting. Degoullons, who sculpts the organ, then worked for Louis XV to the development of small apartments. The skies of the chapel show the parallels between the Old and New Testament: the paintings of the vault represent the three persons of the Trinity. In the center, the Eternal Father in glory bringing the world the promise of redemption, by Antoine Coypel, in the apse, The Resurrection of Christ by Charles de La Fosse, and above the royal tribune, The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Virgin and the Apostles, by John Jouvenet. As the carvers, their art "amiable" is already one of the eighteenth century. Thus, all combine to make the new building a summit of French art. Of the total budget for the building of the Chapel Royal, estimated at 2.5 million pounds, nearly one million was also allocated to the painted and carved. But nothing is insignificant at Versailles: the great carpet of the ship had been ordered from the Soap Factory. Recently, one of the central compartment could be bought for two million euros by the castle-museum. We may discover at the exhibition. The organ, located in the gallery above the altar, opened in 1711, was a work of Robert Clicquot. Around this organ, whose most illustrious owner was François Couperin, placed themselves musicians and singers. Finally, the missal was illustrated by Charles-Nicolas Cochin. Wherever one looks, the decoration of the chapel of Versailles was brilliant. What he was criticized, however, as early as the reign of Louis XIV was accused before of being an act of faith, to be an act of glorification Royal. Stunning chapel. Wonder artistic, less for the asking, the apotheosis of the House of France.

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