Louis XIV always wanted people from different countries, including his native one, to realize the power and glory of France. He believed that the place of his reign also has a great role, as it is seen by many people. So when he got tired of Louvre, the “Sun King” decided to create something more extravagant and expensive. As a result, he chose Versailles as his new residence.
Versailles is a magnificent chateau that attracts people and makes them admire. However, from the very beginning, it was just a small hunting lodge designed by Philibert Le Roy. It was a simple building made of brick and stone and would remain it unless Louis IV decided to transform it into the large chateau. He is the person that allowed us to enjoy the great example of the Baroque art, which was made by three outstanding masters. Louis Le Vau was one of them; he was an architect of this place, who designed hundreds of rooms.
The whole interior of Versailles, its lavish decoration, in particular, was created by Charles Le Brun. Andre Le Notre considered the landscape, including extensive gardens. The chateau has large curved details many columns and looks rather complicated due to its shapes. The whole process took 21 years and only in 1682 the court and Louis IV settled in it. Still, some improvements and further constructions were made (chapels, for example). The rooms of Versailles impress people with their beauty, as they have mirrored arches and heavy marbling, are in aristocratic gold and red colors, and their windows overlook the gardens with fountains, and sculptures (“Palace of Versailles” par. 9).
During the reign of Louis IV, many people lived and worked in Versailles. The court performed their daily routine, and the King followed his schedule. In the morning, the chateau was full of the personnel who came to the King’s room to wash him, shave, dress, and breakfast. Even though Louis IV paid much attention to his clothes, and they were always elaborated, the hygiene did not receive the same regard, and these procedures were not day-to-day. About a hundred men were allowed to come to the chamber to observe the morning ritual. When the King left his apartment, many people gathered along the passage of his cortege to see him or to request something. Then the councils came to his cabinet for a meeting. Several ministers worked with Louis IV at this time.
In the afternoon, the secretary prepared the letters for the King to sing when he comes back from the promenade or hunt. The members of the royal family had supper together in the antechamber of the King’s room. A public ceremony was held when he returned to his bedchamber (“A day in the life of Louis XIV” par. 10). Noblemen wanted to be seen, as being recognized by Louis IV, they gained an opportunity to become closer to him, receive higher positions, and gain more money. Thus, they adjusted their schedules so that they had enough time to observe the King’s ritual. As a result, the court was revolving about Louis IV. He was like an artwork that attracted people. The evenings passed by entertainments (such as cards, receptions, dances, etc.) amid the crowd. It seems that Versailles reflected the values of the King and the court. It was ornate and mannered just as their appearance, dress, in particular, which became fancier and fancier.
Still, things were not that simple. The construction of Versailles occurred to be one of the triggers of France’s decline, which led to the revolution. This palace is not just said to look expensive it is expensive. An enormous amount of money was spent on its erection and sustenance, which was a venture. The palace of Versailles was huge, and it could be compared with a city that exists in another city and on its costs. The government including the royal family and the court spent lots of money, and they never paid attention to his face. However, the money from the government coffers was not enough to support everything for a long time. Soon warfare and court expenses exhausted the country. The King and the court had misdirected priorities and spent more than they were able to afford.
As a consequence, France faced a debt crisis, which disturbed the citizens (Keko par. 3). The high walls of the chateau turned into the walls between the royal family and the general public. It was considered to be an extravagant building that embodied extreme might and luxury that was unattainable for the majority of people who lived outside Versailles. It turned into the thing that separated the court and royals from others. They became more distant and paid less attention to the problems the citizens have. Underlying the discrepancy, Versailles destroyed people’s loyalty and made them unsatisfied. Except for that, when Louis moved from Louvre, he left Paris, which occurred to be the center of the revolution. People did not want to be governed and led from the outside and wanted to see their King in the capital.
So it can be concluded that Versailles can be considered in two perspectives. It is a wonderful artwork and a gorgeous example of baroque architecture. However, it catalyzed France’s decline and contributed to the beginning of the revolution at the same time.
A day in the life of Louis XIV. n.d. Web.
Keko, Don. Causes of the French Revolution. 11 Mar. 2012. Web.
Palace of Versailles. n.d. Web.