The women behind the Sun King: Gender iconography at the château de Versailles (1682-1715)

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The gender studies in relation to ceremonial practice within the French court has not yet been extensively studied. Seldom, the etiquette has been addressed within the social court studies (Elias, 1969), history of art (Chatenet, 2002) and political theology (Kantorowicz, 1957), but without addressing the field of “Architecture and Privacy”.
I address this niche as part of my ongoing PhD focusing on its architectural significance. This paper frames the power balance within the French king’s court, represented by the gender separation of the king and queen’s private apartments in
the first floor of the château de Versailles. It considers three milestones: the Marie-Thérèse’s departure (1683), the establishment of the de Maintenon’s one (1685), and the substantial expansion of Louis XIV’s appartaments particuliers (until 1701) around the Cour de Marbre.
Specifically, I explore the mutations on the dwelling setting from the initial proposal by François d’Orbay to the physical evolutions realised by J. Hardouin-Mansart; the reading of the architectural drawings will be supported by the analysis of the king’s iconography, namely the portraits of Louis by N.R. Jollain l’Ancien (c.1689) and the Maintenon’s one by L.Elle le Jeune (c.1688) referring to the external common topos of St Cyr.
I argue that the Versailles gender tension embedded in the architecture of the château strongly reflects the power development of Louis XIV, while the several adjustments of the apartments offer a fruitful occasion to situate the notion of privacy within this early modern case study.
Publikationsdato9 okt. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 9 okt. 2019
BegivenhedMedieval and Early Modern Studies Symposium: Sex and Gender Politics - Northumbria University, Newcastle, Storbritannien
Varighed: 9 okt. 20199 okt. 2019


KonferenceMedieval and Early Modern Studies Symposium: Sex and Gender Politics
LokationNorthumbria University

Kunstnerisk udviklingsvirksomhed (KUV)

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