The French Court Comes to the Met in "Visitors to Versailles"

  • Tapestry of Versailles from the Gobelins Factory - © Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Collection du Mobilier national, photo © Isabelle Bideau

    Tapestry of Versailles from the Gobelins Factory - © Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Collection du Mobilier national, photo © Isabelle Bideau

  • Visitors to Versailles - © Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Visitors to Versailles - © Metropolitan Museum of Art

The French Court Comes to the Met in "Visitors to Versailles" 1000 5th avenue New York fr

The glittering court of Versailles is coming to New York—for the season, at least. In partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Château de Versailles is unveiling a special exhibit, from  April 16 to July 29, 2018 called "Visitors to Versailles" dedicated to the many comings and goings of the royal court. In its hundred years in power, Versailles was the center of the Western world in many ways; people came from around the globe to see the fashion, tour the gardens, oogle the menagerie...but mostly, they came to see the king, the sun at the center of the universe.

 

 

Origins of a Legend

The sprawling château as we know it today replaced the humble hunting lodge of Louis XIII when his son, Louis XIV, decided to move the power of the French court from the bustling streets of Paris to the isolation of the countryside in 1661. Louis settled on Versailles, razed the existing village, drained the marshland, and set about creating the most magnificent palace in the world. To consolidate power, the nobility was "encouraged" to spend most of their time in the orbit of the king when the court and governement were officially installed in 1682. 

 

@Metropolitan Museum of Art/ © Ville de Versailles,
Musée Lambinet, photo by
Christophe Fouin

From the Suburbs of Paris to the Upper East Side

From the installation in 1682 to the forced exodus of the royal family in 1789, Versailles became an unparalled destination in its century of power. While it was open in some ways to the common people of France, royalty, diplomats, and dignitaries from kings to Benjamin Franklin flocked to the court from Thailand to Tunisia, carrying with them riches from their homelands. 

To explore this facet of Versailles as a destination for travelers, the Met partnered with Versailles to bring together around 190 objects and curiosities from the palace's apogee. Some highlights of the exhibit include Franklin's clothes, furniture designed for Marie Antoinette, and a rare pendant of Louis XIV studded in diamonds.

Weaving together the stories and experiences of the travelers is a truly incredible audioguide. The atmospheric 3D soundscapes dramatize the accounts of visitors to the royal palace, whispering the experience of "Visitors to Versailles" into your ear.

For more information:

Visitors to Versailles

Château de Versailles