Monday, 1 January 2018

The Cabinet des Tableaux

In 1685 this room was created for Louis XIV's impressive art collection. Initially, his collection was housed in two separate rooms but it was changed in 1692.
The wall was broken down to unite the two smaller rooms into one. The king's personal collection of paintings had grown steadily ever since the reign of Francis I - there were far too many to keep in one room alone. Consequently, only a sample was chosen to decorate the walls.

The first chamber was devoted to the two greatest French painters of the time: Charles Le Brun and Pierre Mignard - both of whom had contributed to Versailles. Amongst their works on display were:
"The Sleep of the Child Jesus" by Le Brun, "The Virgin with Raisins" by Mignard and "Jesus Carrying his Cross" by Le Brun.

This room also served as an office for the king. From the inventory of 1708 we know how his desk looked like. It was a large desk of pewter and copper marquetry on an ebony background with seven drawers in front and a square of red velvet on the desk. The details were gilded in gold.
Besides the desk there was an armchair in red velvet, two armchairs in golden gilding and red damask as well as six folding chairs.

The second chamber was arranged for a more relaxed atmosphere. A chaise-longue (of red damask and golden gilding), another six folding chairs and four armchairs made up the majority of the furniture. One of the more fascinating pieces was the armillary sphere created by Martinot and Daguerre in 1703; it shows the Copernicus system of planetary movements.

The paintings were both French and Italian:

"Jesus in the garden of olives" by Le Brun, "The triumph of Vespasian and Titus" by Jules Romain, "The nativity" by Le Brun, "Armide & Renaud" by Dominiquin ...

The Mona Lisa was also a part of the king's collection and could have made a part of the décor at some point too.

It would later serve as Louis XV's office or corner cabinet. By this time it had been completely transformed in style to fit the modern tastes.


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