HISTORY OF MODERN FRANCE
From the Pre-Revolutionary period to the 3rd Republic 1770-1870 - Part I
9 November 2022
The Petit Trianon:
Marie-Antoinette's Magic Kingdom at Versailles
with Chris Boïcos
Initially commissioned by Louis XV as the private domain of his beloved mistress Madame de Pompadour, the Petit Trianon was gifted by Louis XVI, instead, to his young Queen, Marie-Antoinette, upon his accession to the throne in 1774.
The Queen will completely refurbish the exquisite little château built by Jacques-Ange Gabriel in 1762. She will add a miniature theater to act in personally, replant the gardens in the new romantic “English” style, build a picturesque village of thatched cottages around a lake, framed by a miniature water mill and a “lighthouse,” and add a farm and flocks of sheep for a note of rustic “simplicity”. The Trianon became the Queen’s ultimate escape from the drafty halls and stiff etiquette of the old palace of Versailles. Only the young and entertaining members of the court were invited to the Queen’s private domain, giving rise to deep resentments, jealousies and also rumors of scandalous behavior at Trianon. Thus, the domain will seal her reputation as an extravagant and wayward figure, largely contributing to the image of a decadent and immoral monarchy which will eventually lead to the Revolution.
In our lecture we will study all aspects of the remarkable architecture and decoration of the Trianon, its gardens, the Queen’s hameau, and the mores and lifestyle of the Queen and her friends in this magical domain.
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