The essays in this volume show that Versailles was not the static creation of one man, but a hugely complex cultural space; a centre of power, but also of life, love, anxiety, creation, and an enduring palimpsest of aspirations, desires, and ruptures. The splendour of the Ch teau and the masterpieces of art and design that it contains mask a more complex and sometimes more sordid history of human struggle and achievement. The case studies presented by the contributors to this book cannot provide a comprehensive account of the Palace of Versailles and its domains, the life within its walls, its visitors, and the art and architecture that it has inspired from the seventeenth century to the present day: from the palace of the Sun King to the Penthouse of Donald Trump. However, this innovative collection will reshape-or even radically redefine-our understanding of the palace of Versailles and its posterity.
Mark Ledbury is Power Professor of Art History & Visual Culture and Director of the Power Institute at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the author of James Northcote, History Painting, and the Fables (2014) and Sedaine, Greuze and the Boundaries of Genre (2000). He is also the editor of three books, including Fictions of Art History (2013). Robert Wellington is Senior Lecturer in Art History & Art Theory at the Australian National University, Australia. He is an art historian with a special interest in the role of material culture in history making and cross-cultural exchange at the Court of Louis XIV. Prior to receiving a PhD in Art History from the University of Sydney, he has ten years' experience in various roles in the contemporary arts sector. He is the Book Placement Editor for Early Modern Art History Studies (1500-1800) for H-France, and on the advisory board for Bloomsbury's Material Culture of Art & Design book series. His monograph, Antiquarianism and the Visual Histories of Louis XIV: Artifacts for a Future Past, was published in 2015.