A Great Work of Art : Palace of Versailles Essay

The development of art is closely connected to history. While contemporary people may think that what constitutes the modern aesthetics will never change, the ancestors held similar views. However, it is possible to examine the works of art of gone ages and seen how they reflect different perceptions of the people about the world, social environment and even themselves. That is why a careful examination of a work of art will reveal much more that superficial details. This paper will provide a description of Palace of Versailles, paying particular attention to different aspects of its and then compare it to San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane in order to examine peculiarities of Baroque.

Speaking of Palace of Versailles, one should note that it is a masterpiece of Late Baroque. One of the most fascinating aspects of it is its size: the palace was not originally built as a stronghold, but as a showcase of grandeur and wealth. That is why there are 700 rooms and 2,153 windows in it (Ropeik). The total area that is covered by this palace is equal to 67,000 square miles which is quite amazing, given the fact that all this space is richly decorated. As for the latter, one should note that Palace of Versailles embodies everything that Baroque stands for. Thus, the interior is richly decorated in almost any way possible: there are statues, paintings, sculptures, reliefs, glass and much more. Each room had numerous details that invite the audience to investigate them and marvel at the aesthetic genius of the creators. In addition to that, given a large number of rooms, there are rooms that may be dedicated to one single purpose. An excellent example is the bedroom which features an entire complex of procedures that were to be performed before the king went to bed.

Those who may not be familiar with the peculiarities of the palace, may be surprised by the fact that its exterior is dramatically different from its interior. Indeed, the facade features straight lines and resembles best examples of Greek and Roman architecture that were praised by Renaissance. Many scholars point out that Palace of Versailles represents a great example of what they call “classical-Baroque compromise” (“Baroque Architecture”). Indeed, the exterior seems to follow the principles of classical architecture in many ways, but it does feature various rich elements around the windows that are not recognized immediately from a distance.

If one examines the message that this work of art was intended to send, one will be able to interpret it in the following way: the grandeur of Palace of Versailles serves a single purpose: to reflect the grandeur of the king who commissioned it – Louis XIV. Indeed, it took more than two decades for architects to build the palace and it was deliberately designed to show wealth and power of the kind. Everything that could send the message that the French monarch is the most influential in the world was designed to serve this purpose. Even the exterior which resembles the classic architecture shows that France is the successor of the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome.

The fate of this work of art is also quite interesting. As it has already been mentioned, the kind ordered the palace to be built as the center of his power. As a result, after it was completed, it did become the focal point of his kingdom. The palace was created in a small village, but the kind was able to turn it into the center of his entire state. Nevertheless, in the end, it serves as the target of those who were willing to bring down the monarchy. So, when France no longer was a kingdom, the former center of power of the monarch turned into a museum (“The Palace”). However, it is exactly what made it possible to preserve this work of art.

Now, it may be useful to compare the palace in question with another work of art of the same period, but that belongs to a slightly different time. Thus, just like Palace of Versailles, San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane is a great example of Baroque architecture. However, it is a representative of High, not Late Baroque. That is why the differences between the two are quite obvious. As it has already been stated Palace of Versailles took a lot of features from a classic architecture which means that it primarily relies on straight lines and geometric proportions. Contrary to that, San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane literally features curved walls. This was done by the architecture deliberately so that more decorations could be filled. Indeed, the exterior of the church is extremely rich: a person is able to look at it for quite a continuous time, investigating even the smallest details as they all have a special meaning. Contrary to that, Palace of Versailles relies on rich decoration inside. While there are some decorations in the exterior, they are grouped in a manner that does not distract the viewers.

Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, one is able to come to the following conclusion: Palace of Versailles is a great work of art that features all elements of baroque style. It embodies the very nature of it while making a compromise with the classic architecture as well. Contrary to that, San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane also represents Baroque, but boldly rejects any connection to the classical art, emphasizing elements of its own style.


Works Cited

“Baroque Architecture.” Baroque Architecture | Essential Humanities. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017. <http://www.essential-humanities.net/western-art/architecture/baroque/>.

Ropeik, Rachel. “Château de Versailles.” Khan Academy. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017. <https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/monarchy-enlightenment/baroque-art1/france/a/chteau-de-versailles>.

“The Palace.” Palace of Versailles. N.p., 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017. <http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/palace>.

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[Accessed: September 29, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 29, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 29, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 29, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: September 29, 2020]