"Versailles and Antiquity" at the Palace of Versailles
Often called “the new Rome”, the Palace of Versailles is packed with references to Greek and roman antiquity and mythology, reflecting the taste of the different kings in their collections of antiques and the aesthetic choices underlying the design of the Palace and its decoration. The exhibition “Versailles and Antiquity” provides a unique occasion to bring together over two hundred works (sculptures, paintings, drawings, engravings, tapestries, pieces of furniture and objets d’art) from the principal French collections, the Louvre Museum and Versailles. For the first time since the revolution, the most prestigious antiques return to the Palace in a theatrical and spectacular exhibition.
The antiquity in the Palace of Versailles
Versailles was a new rome in several ways: in its grandiose size, its ambition to endure for centuries, and the many references to the great models of Antiquity. In the 17th century, Antiquity was regarded as the incomparable and absolute model which the most ambitious sovereigns wished to rival: Louis XIV created Versailles as the seat of power to bring back its grandeur.
What is the antiquity?
The splendour of Antiquity was recreated by assembling a collection of artistic works, relics of a long-gone glorious civilisation. All the powerful rulers of the 17th century coveted them. More than any other European monarch , Louis XIV sought to acquire the most prest igious antique pieces or have them copied. Versailles was their sanct uary: statues and bust s in the Grand Apartments and the gardens, cameos, medals and small bronzes in the king’s private collection.
The antiquity, an inspiration...
These works assembled in Versailles show how Antiquity was recomposed for the glory of the king. Apart from its presence in Versailles, the antique world was a fruitful and stimulating source of models for all the creative artists and designers who succeeded each other in Versailles. These antique models, universally known through engravings, were assimilated and reinterpreted. Artists adopted them so skilfully that many of their works could claim to have surpassed the originals. The influence of the ancient world was seen in all the artistic fields. Architecture, garden design, décor and the ephemeral arts sometimes referred back to precise models that are easily identifiable.
Admission fees and rates
- Full rate : 15€ (entrance to the Palace + access to the exhbition)
- Reduced rate : 13€
- Free admission (see conditions below)