The Chateau de Versailles is paying homage to its famous builder, Louis XIV, with the exhibition "Louis XIV, the Man and the King", from...

The Chateau de Versailles is paying homage to its famous builder, Louis XIV, with the exhibition “Louis XIV, the Man and the King”, from October 20 to February 7, 2010.

Versailles, just to the west of Paris, is the most famous palace in the world and ranks among the most famous world heritage sites. It is generally recognized as the most beautiful and the most comprehensive achievement of French art in the 17th century.


For the first time at the Chateau de Versailles, an exhibition concentrates on this famous monarch, displaying more than 300 pieces from all around the world and never previously brought together. Some of the exhibits are being shown in France for the first time since before the Revolution.

The public image of Louis XIV, known as “The Sun King” and one of the most famous monarchs in world history, was shaped by the sovereign himself and his advisors and evolved continually to embrace the roles expected of him. His near-mythical image is reflected in the excellence of the artists with which the King surrounded himself: the paintings and sculptures of Le Bernin (Bernini), Girardon, Rigaud, Cucci, Gole, Van der Meulen and Coysevox all contributed to his royal mystique.

Additionally, the exhibition aims to provide an insight into the man behind the monarch by revealing his own personal taste. As a royal patron of the arts, and a royal collector, he was competing against other European sovereigns who were genuine connoisseurs.

The Chateau de Versailles is hosting its first-ever major exhibition on its builder, the famous monarch Louis XIV from October 20, 2009 to February 7, 2010. The exhibition is entitled 'Louis XIV, Man and King'

The Chateau de Versailles is hosting its first-ever major exhibition on its builder, the famous monarch Louis XIV from October 20, 2009 to February 7, 2010. The exhibition is entitled 'Louis XIV, Man and King'

Louis XIV benefited from Mazarin’s legacy, and developed his taste through direct contact with artists and the personal relationships he established with them: Le Brun and Mignard in the case of painting; Le Vau and Hardouin-Mansart in the case of architecture; Le Nôtre in the case of garden design; Lully in the case of music; and Molière in the case of the theatre.

In bringing together those works which the King admired, the true picture of an enthusiastic art lover and man of taste emerges through the jewellery, cameos, medals, miniatures and objets d’art, as well as the paintings and sculptures, with which he liked to surround himself in his private apartments at Versailles.

Louis XIV took a personal interest in all manner of artistic projects, inquiring daily after the progress of Le Brun’s works. He contributed to the design and layout of the gardens with Le Nôtre; took part in ballets performed at court; and co-ordinated the construction works for the Palace of Versailles with Hardouin-Mansart and Le Vau.

Visitors to the exhibition can appreciate Louis XIV’s great work by going on to visit the palace and gardens of Versailles.

For further information on the Chateau de Versailles, visit www.chateauversailles.fr. For more information on the Louis XIV exhibition, visit the exhibition’s web site at www.louisxiv-versailles.fr.