The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has opened the gates to an exclusive exhibition of more than 130 treasures from the Palace of Versailles. For the first time ever, theses treasures have travelled from France to entice visitors into a world of power, passion and luxury through this epic exhibition.
Versailles: Treasures from the Palace brings to life the extraordinary history of one of the world’s most opulent palaces, the centre of French power and taste during the reigns of King Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Featuring paintings, tapestries, sculptures, furniture and objects, this monumental exhibition evokes the sights, sounds and even scents of the French court during the 17th – 18th centuries.
From the massive 3m x 2m Sourches family portrait to the intricate objects and porcelain of Marie-Antoinette, Versailles: Treasures from the Palace showcases many facets of court life during this remarkable period in history. The exhibition contrasts small personal items, such as the precious golden reliquary which belonged to Louis XIV’s mother, and Marie Antoinette’s hand-crafted chair and harp, with huge works including six-metre tapestries from the most important Gobelins series ever produced for Louis XIV.
“This exhibition features some of the most recognisable and beautiful pieces from the Palace of Versailles,” said Gerard Vaughan, NGA Director. “Every object tells a story – evoking the lives, loves, taste and ideas of the kings, queens, mistresses and courtiers who lived at Versailles through so many great moments in French history.”
The exhibition is a sensory journey, with music and a Louis XIV-inspired perfume incorporated into the experience. In a first for the Gallery, master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has worked with the NGA to create a fragrance that scents the exhibition entrance.
The NGA’s main entrance has also been transformed by celebrity gardener, Paul Bangay, who has created a garden avenue as a homage to Versailles. Taking inspiration from the opulence of the Orangerie at Versailles, Bangay has created an avenue of pleached Pyrus sculptural urns, paired with large date palms.
Versailles: Treasures from the Palace features objects from the gardens and fountains throughout the exhibition, including the massive Latona and her children statue from the central fountain of Versailles. Topographical views of the gardens illustrate the changes in style throughout the royal reigns over more than 150 years. Garden plans, labyrinth sculptures, ornate bronze vases from the Orangerie, and paintings of the flowers grown around Versailles also feature strongly in the exhibition.
Versailles: Treasures from the Palace
National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes (Canberra)
Exhibition continues to 17 April 2017
Admission fees apply
For more information, visit: www.nga.gov.au for details.
Image: The Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles © Jose Ignacio Soto / Shutterstock.com