Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Memoriam of Marie Antoinette (2 November, 1755 - 16 October, 1793)

In Memoriam of Marie Antoinette (2 November, 1755 - 16 October, 1793)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seated Gladiator (1784-1788) by Jean-Germain Drouais

Seated Gladiator (1784-1788) by Jean-Germain Drouais



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Marie Antoinette's Belvedere and the Rock on the grounds of the Petit Trianon

The Belvedere and the Rock were built in the English Garden laid out at the request of Marie-Antoinette around the Petit Trianon. 

The English Garden was very popular. The Belvedere, which Marie-Antoinette used as her music and tea room, was described as “the height of perfection, taste and carving” by Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne. 


When Louis XVI gave the Petit Trianon to Marie-Antoinette it was surrounded by a botanical garden laid out for Louis XV in 1750. This place of scientific experimentation no longer corresponded to the fashion for gardens which was changing fast: the model of French-style formal gardens was being replaced by the more picturesque landscaped gardens based on the English style.


The botanical garden of Louis XV was replaced by the English Garden that Marie-Antoinette instructed the Comte de Caraman to design and her architect Richard Mique to lay out. The result is an English-style garden with a rather simple designed, featuring a stream and punctuated by small decorative constructions called “fabriques”. They were built between 1777 and 1787 in several styles: exotic, natural, rustic and inspired by antiquity.


Built between 1778 and 1781, the Belvedere, along with Cupid’s Temple, was the only building of the English Garden built by Richard Mique. The Rock, built between 1778 and 1782, is the work of the painter Hubert Robert.


The Rock, entirely artificial, adds a “mountain” theme to the garden. Its piping and tank placed behind it form a torrent whose water is caught in the ornamental lake facing the Belvedere.



Richard Mique designed a building with an octagonal plan on a stone base and crowned with a balustrade. Its eight sides are pierced by four alternating doors and four windows. The doors are surmounted by triangular pediments decorated with sculpted rustic themes; the windows have low reliefs evoking the four seasons. The four flights of steps giving access to the Belvedere are framed by groups of two sphinxes.



The Rock, entirely artificial, adds a “mountain” theme to the garden. Its piping and tank placed behind it form a torrent whose water is caught in the ornamental lake facing the Belvedere.






The Rock, which completes this landscaped scene, drawn and designed by the painter Hubert Robert, forms the pendant to the Belvedere with its contrasting aesthetic.


Outside, it is decorated with sculptures by Deschamps: a fruit frieze garland once painted with colors, pediments evoking the pleasures of hunting and gardening, window imposts symbolizing the four seasons.



Used by the queen as her music & tea room, I own porcelain tea cups made by Marie Antoinette's porcelain factory known as Fabrique de la Reine or  rue Thiroux. The Belvedere pavilion, like Cupid’s Temple, is decorated in the classical style. The balance of its proportions, the refinement of its sculpture and the richness of its interior paintings of rural themes is completed by the patterned polychrome marble floor.



Guarded by figures of sphinxes framing each of the flights of steps


Inside, the decorative stucco work embellished with floral motifs painted in oil is balanced by the polychrome marble floor.

Salon du Rocher with stucco walls highlighted by arabesque and floral patterns are rounded off by polychrome marble tiles.

Guarded by figures of sphinxes framing each of the flights of steps, The Belevedere was also known as the pavilion of music, and was decorated with murals inspired by the paintings of Pompeii. The richness of its stucco decor on a white background highlighted by colorful arabesque and floral patterns. the Belvedere is built in the classical style matching that of the Temple of Love.The Grotto, located downhill from it, is a totally artificial rock feature, designed and sketched by the painter Hubert Robert, in the form of a pendant in a contrasting aesthetic style. Outside, it is decorated with sculptures by Deschamps: a fruit frieze garland once painted with colors, pediments evoking the pleasures of hunting and gardening, window imposts symbolizing the four seasons. The circular living room is paved with a marble mosaic tiles in interlocking semicircle and stair pattern.



Furnishing the Pavillion of the Belvedere. The furnishing of the Belvedere was some of the most expensive items Marie Antoinette ordered. The pieces are very will documented as the original bills exist in the Archives Nationale in Paris. and were used in her trial during the French Revolution. In 1780, François Foliot made eight gilt wood armchairs and eight side chairs, designed in the Neoclassical style with carved bands of ivy, laurel wreaths, and fluting, they stood in the salon du Rocher of the Belvedere Pavilion, designed by Jacques Gondoin. This was one of Foliot’s last commissions before being replaced in the Queen’s favor by Georges Jacob. It is possible that the sculptor of the beautiful hymen’s torch uprights on the back and the pierced seat rail were sculpted by Foliot’s uncle, Nicolas Quinibert Foliot. What made this seating furniture so expensive was the hand embroidered gold and silver threads on a cream background. 

Salon du Rocher with stucco walls highlighted by arabesque and floral patterns are rounded off by polychrome marble tiles.




The octagonal Belvedere was built between (1778-81), and consecrated to the four Seasons
                                                                                


Outside, it is decorated with sculptures by Deschamps: a fruit frieze garland once painted with colors, pediments evoking the pleasures of hunting and gardening, window imposts symbolizing the four seasons.





Salon du Rocher with stucco walls highlighted by arabesque and floral patterns are rounded off by polychrome marble tiles.


Cupid Kissing Psyche (1798) by François GÉRARD Musée du Louvre, Paris

Cupid Kissing Psyche (1798) by François GÉRARD Musée du Louvre, Paris


The shepherds in the tomb of Amyntas - Pierre-Narcisse Guerin.

The shepherds in the tomb of Amyntas - Pierre-Narcisse Guerin. 





The Valpinçon Bather 1808 by Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES

The Valpinçon Bather 1808 by Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES



Madame Raymond de Verninac 1798-99 by Jacques-Louis DAVID

Madame Raymond de Verninac 1798-99 by Jacques-Louis DAVID