Art des Events
Masterpieces of the King’s Chamber, The Echo of Caravaggio at Versailles
This exhibition turns the spotlight on the paintings in the King’s Chamber – one of the most admired rooms in the Palace of Versailles – enabling their true value to be appreciated for the first time at eye level. Come and admire this ensemble from the Louis 14th's private collection in the flats of Madame de Maintenon. The exhibitionIn 1701, Louis XIV decided to convert the drawing room of his private apartment, which opened into the Hall of Mirrors at the time, into a state room, thus making it the epicentre of Court life. The king took a close interest in the alterations to the room and chose to keep five paintings by Valentin de Boulogne there, along with four medallion paintings that have been attributed to various artists over the years. However, three other paintings – by Giovanni Lanfranco, Nicolas Tournier and Valentin de Boulogne – were removed from the wood panelling to make way for the gilt stucco relief above the bed. The conversion of the drawing room into a bedchamber revealed the monarch’s penchant for Caravaggesque painting: plain compositions with a virtuoso touch, playing on the density of shadows for optimum contrast with the lavish décor of the room, extensively embellished with gold. In this ceremonial room, the king chose to highlight both religious subjects – reflecting the Christian piety of his later years – and a French painter, Valentin de Boulogne. This artist was born in 1591 and is known to have been in Rome from 1614. He drew inspiration for his palette from the works left by Caravaggio in the Eternal City and from the low-life Roman characters with whom he spent much of his time until his death, in 1632. The Palace of Versailles has gathered together in the apartment of Madame de Maintenon, for the first time, all nine canvases that hung in the drawing room, as well as the medallions, thanks to exceptional loans from the Louvre and the Tessé Museum in Le Mans.
Masterpieces of the King’s Chamber, The Echo of Caravaggio at Versailles
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The King's chamber  © EPV / Thomas Garnier