(b. 1646, Paris, d. 1708, Marly-le-Roi)

Exterior view

Château, Versailles

Versailles became the ultimate European palace, not only because of its size, splendour, and advanced layout, but also because of the ideal manner in which it expressed absolute power. Versailles was the symbol of timeless domination, the residence of the Sun King, whose life and works of an exemplary nature and were therefore subject to strict regulation and ritual.

The conversion of Louis XIII's small hunting lodge in Versailles had been set in motion by 1668. With Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre, the king brought in those artists who had already developed significant new concepts at Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace of his minister Fouquet. The setting of the natural landscape and the concept of "between courtyard and garden" distinguished this new, but much more ambitious extension. In 1677 the king decided to relocate his residence to Versailles, an action which entailed an enormous amount of additional planning. The young Jules Hardouin-Mansart was given the responsibility for carrying this through. Over the next thirty years he directed the conversion of Versailles, on which at times up to 30.000 workers were employed,

The picture shows the garden façade of the palace.