The hidden face of Versailles, and the apartments of Mesdames

In Versailles sculptures and original plaster casts quietly decay, far from the public eye. Thanks to Didiier Rykner for rescuing these Ghosts of Versailles from oblivion in the Art Tribune. Yes, this is indeed Louis XVI’s face under the plastic wrap. If only a fraction of the money spent on the literally dazzling new gates had been allocated to sorely needed conservation efforts…

On a happier note, I want to call your attention to the fact that the apartments of Mesdames, daughters of Louis XV, are open to the public on summer week-ends only. This is your chance to see where they lived at Versailles, on the ground floor with a beautiful view of the park, and admire the originals of many of the portraits reproduced on my series on the princesses. Here is one of my favorites, Madame Henriette by Nattier.

Madame Henriette de France Nattier

For links to my series on the daughters of Louis XV:

Madame Elisabeth, Duchess of Parma
Madame Henriette
Madame Marie-Louise
Madame Adélaïde
Madame Victoire
Madame Sophie
Madame Thérèse
Madame Louise (Venerable Mother Thérèse de Saint-Augustin)

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9 Comments to “The hidden face of Versailles, and the apartments of Mesdames”

  1. Catherine Delors says:

    Indeed, Ingrid. I am in the midst of a post on paniers right now. Stay tuned!

  2. Ingrid Mida says:

    I love the painting too, especially the beautiful dress which must have had paniers to create such width.

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    Thank you so much, Monsieur Chalut de Verin, for the link. It allowed me to find another one on the Versailles site to Mesdames’ apartments, which is now added to the post (truth be told, I tend to get lost on the beautiful but complex official site…)

    And Penny, you are most welcome, and I hope you enjoy your trip to San Francisco. By the way, I will post more portraits of Madame Henriette soon. Of Madame Adelaide too.

  4. Penny Klein says:

    I loved this portrait so much, it is now hanging in my apt. never fear, i do have wall space left in different rooms. but then i have to save space for my pictures from California, especially San Francisco. Tony Bennet is so on the ball, the city on the bay. the city in which a 20 plus year freindship was sealed, cemented whatever metaphor you want to use and according to mentioned freind, Nancy, it has not changed. it is still as charming as ever. i look forward to sending that city to my wall. it will be exciting to see what other artwork you put up while i am away as i will be gone by 5:15 a.m. EST becasue of the distance and airport security so i can make my flight out of here.
    so i hope to see more art from Paris or Versailles etc. thank you so much for opening my eyes to the beauty that is in the world.

  5. Et voilà :

    En fait il s’agit de son appartement de 1745 à 1750 environ. Comme vous le dites, ses appartements ultérieurs ont été réaménagés pour Mesdames.

  6. Catherine Delors says:

    I believe that Mesdames took over at least some of Madame de Pompadour’s suite after her death (a get-even thing?) It would have been the part that used to be Louis XIV’s appartement des bains. Do you have the link to these pictures on the website?

  7. Yes, the crowds add, in way, the ambiance of what it was like- crowded. One part of the palace I’ve never seen, though, are the appartements of Mme de Pompadour. I didn’t even know they were furnished, but on the new Versailles Web site there is a photograph of at least one of the rooms part of her suite.

  8. Catherine Delors says:

    Oh I don’t mind Versailles being crowded. The place was meant to be that way. I will go back in the fall, though, at a more leisurely pace, to enjoy the beauty of the woods.

  9. The appartements of Mesdames make up one of my favourite spaces in the palace, along with those of the dauphin and dauphine, restored to their mid-eighteenth century appearance. I don’t know why, they just aren’t visited as much (there’s also the fact that the appartements of Mesdames are only open on week-ends) and as such give the visitor a truly unique view at what it must have been like to visit them. That said, the crowds of people in the Galeries des Glaces are, in a way, a good thing, as you can see how it would have been with throngs of courtiers and visitors clamouring to get a glimpse of the splendour and opulence in which the royal family lived.

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