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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The State Apartments


17th century

One of Louis XIV's key aims when building Versailles was to lure the nobles away from Paris and better control them.

Thousands of courtiers moved from Paris to Versailles, staying at the palace or in town, hoping to see and be seen by the king.

3 evenings a week, the king would host parties in the State Apartments.

The names of the rooms are all references to gods or planets - Venus, Mercury, Mars, Apollo, Diane, Hercules.

This feeds into this narrative of Louis XIV as the "Sun King" - the center of the universe around which everything revolves.

The reference to the king's power permeate these rooms.

The room of Venus draws parallels with Roman emperors, with a statue of Louis XIV as a Roman emperor and paintings of Augustus and Alexander the Great.

Fun fact : the vase painted above the door of the room of Abundance is the "nef d'or" - Louis XIV's golden napkin holder which was only taken out on special occasions and had to be greeted by courtiers as they passed it!