Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Versailles: Treasures from the Palace

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) generally holds two 'block-buster' exhibitions each year.  We try and get to the gallery a few times each year and almost always attend the big exhibitions as well, which are generally works we would not otherwise see.  This was one of the outings we took while the smaller portion's sister was with us.

Versailles:  Treasures from the Palace brought treasures from The Palace at Versailles direct to Canberra.  The treasures included paintings, sculpture, tapestries, and personal items from Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette.  There was luxury, grandeur and opulence.  It was not to my personal taste, but I am not at all sorry we went.  'How the other half lives...'

Starting outside the Gallery, and showing one of my favourites of  the many permanent sculptures.


This is Neil Dawson's 'Diamonds' and is suspended between the NGA and the High Court.  I love it and have photos of it in every season, and at most times of the day.  There is a lot of sculpture at the Gallery, including a Sculpture Garden and some day I will do a post on them.  The Sculpture Garden remains open to the public even when the gallery itself is closed.



I think the entrance to the NGA is a little low key, but the inside is always wonderful.  Entrance to the NGA is free, but the special exhibitions do attract a fee.

The entrance to the Versailles exhibition was certainly not low key.





The luxuriance continued within.  As I said, a lot of it wasn't to my taste, but I was amazed at how well preserved artifacts were, particularly fragile things like china.




The details and colour in this tapestry blew me away.


The silk carpet behind the urn was impressive too.


 


Golden gates no less...



This table and mirror came from a hunting lodge.



 





I wonder whether the phrase 'bird in a gilding cage' originated here?



Marie-Antoinette's chair and footstool.


Marie-Antoinette's harp.

Everywhere you looked, marble, gold, silk, porcelain, ivory, brass, bronze... 

 



125 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Sandra Cox: It was. We are very lucky in the exhibitions which are brought here.

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  2. Wow, great photos. Hope you're having an enjoyable autumn.

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    1. The Happy Whisk: I am. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year.

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    2. Me too. I just love it. So does Tim.

      Happy New Season to YOU !!!!

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    3. The Happy Whisk: I hope Spring (also a lovely season) is treating you kindly.

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    4. Thanks. We had 70F earlier in the week, then yesterday, a snow day. Just a dusting but still snow. We stayed in but mostly because my body needed more recovery time.

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    5. The Happy Whisk: Glad you are listening to your body.

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    6. The Happy Whisk: True, but I don't always listen closely enough or soon enough.

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  3. The decadence well explains the death of the monarchy, huh.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Author R. Mac Wheeler: Sadly no. The difference between the haves and the have nots continues to this day.

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  4. This would be so great to see!!!! We saw things of nickolas and Alexandra once. Wonderful!

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    1. Bookie: Another couple who lived a very luxurious life. The smaller portion saw rather a lot of Faberge while he was in Russia - and didn't even bring me a small piece home.

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  5. What a treasure to see! You do get great special exhibits there.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: We do get some very special exhibitions. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

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  6. Not to my taste, either, but still fascinating!!

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  7. Old Marie had a pretty comfy seat there.......I can't imagine living surrounded by such luxury and wealth but you know......I'll bet they would have given up quite a bit for our modern conveniences and medical care.

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    1. only slightly confused. I suspect that the many servants served as 'moderne conveniences' but the medical care certainly wouldn't have gone astray.

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  8. To add to Delores' thought - I bet they also would have appreciated the fact we no longer use the guillotine ...

    I too would prefer much more modest surroundings (which is good, because that's what I have) but it must have been intriguing to see. The china and the harp really took my eye. I never knew that Marie A. played the harp!

    Thanks for taking us along, EC.

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    1. jenny_o: No guillotine has to be a very big plus. No drawing and quartering either.
      I was intriguing. I was amazed at how much of the china survived, and it didn't look to even have a chip on it.
      I suspect that harp playing was almost mandatory in the upper classes. And drawing. And needlework...

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  9. Not to my taste either, but no great hardship to try living like that. I have seen photos from the exhibition and the same question has arisen for me. Is your third photo a photo of a photo or does the area actually look like that? If the latter, wow!

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    1. Andrew: Statues in front of a hologram. It was really well done wasn't it? The gold candelabra were there 'in the flesh' and the avenue behind was projected onto the wall.

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  10. About 100 years ago I actually went to Versailles. I was too young and ignorant to appreciate it much. It still isn't my style of taste but now I do appreciate the art. What great exhibits go to your museums. Nice.

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    1. Myrna R.: Not my style either, but I am awed at what they accomplished without the 'benefits' of modern technology, machinery and equipment.

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  11. Those items are not to my taste either, EC. However I like to see how people lived and how some still live today.

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    1. Marie Smith: I like to see how people live too, though I would have prefered a balanced look. A room in the exhibition which showed how their subjects lived would have been a great counterpoint.
      And yes, some do still live like that. Sigh.

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  12. They are over the top but what a treat to see.
    Did anyone let the little man out that was behind them golden gate? 😁

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    1. Birdie: The little man could just walk round the gate. It was a treat. For the three of us.

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  13. Very interesting. I've been to the Versailles Palace but almost didn't make it. I've walked down that Hall of Mirrors, and saw the royal bedchambers and a few galleries. A friend encouraged me to tour the place even though I thought the opulance would put me off. They had fantastic ceiling paintings and statues. I've written about our trip to Versailles here in case you are interested. I think you're right about the gilded cage, as all those nobles were there because Louis wanted to keep them where he could see them.
    Link: https://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/v-versailles-palace-to-z-challenge.html (an old AtoZ post)

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    1. D.G. Hudson: How amazing to have walked down that Hall of Mirrors. I will be over to check out your post very shortly. Thank you for the link.

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  14. Strange and wonderful things! Thanks for asking us along

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    1. Cloudia: Rich, ornate, bizarre. And it is my pleasure to invite people to join our peregrinations.

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  15. That was amazing! Thank you for the look around. Love the go;den gate.

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    1. Martin Kloess: It was amazing. And a small fraction of what Versailles contained.

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  16. It wasn't entirely to Marie's taste either which is why she preferred the Petite Trianon and her simple muslin dresses and unpowdered hair.

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    1. JahTeh: I can't say I blame her. Those clothes look heavy, and can you imagine what it would take to get powder out of your hair again?

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  17. I love to visit museums and revisit the past so to speak.
    This looks marvelous.

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    1. Lux G.: I am a big fan of musuems too.

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  18. So ornate. I love those busts and their incredible detail. Glad you let me peek over your shoulder. :-)

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    1. DJan: Incredibly ornate. I can't image how it would have felt to live in that environment. Minimalist they weren't.

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  19. All a bit much for me, but pleased that it wasn't razed to the ground, as are many beauties and treasures after a revolution.

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    1. dinahmow: I was a bit surprised that so much survived too. I believe some was destroyed/looted, but over the years more and more pieces are being returned.

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  20. Gold and Silk, two of my favourite things :) I can't imagine having a silk carpet though, imagine the damage Angel would do! But the Golden Gates has me thinking; what would the reaction be here if I painted my screen door gold?
    I think the low key entrance is a good idea, that way there is nothing to detract from the splendour of the exhibits.
    I love "Diamonds", it looks very large. Is it very large?

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    1. River: Diamonds is fairly large, and swings gently in the breezes overhead. From some angles I am pretty sure there is a bird's nest in the bottom. I love it.
      I prefer silver to gold. Silk is lovely, but my lifestyle and the cats would ruin a silk carpet lickety-split.

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  21. I remember some of these, or their twins, from a visit to Versailles years ago. Like you, I find most of it over-the-top, and not really my thing - apart from the tapestry, which was and is stunning.

    Of everything in this lovely post, what most appeals to me is the 'Diamonds' sculpture. It's fabulous :)

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    1. Alexia: They had a couple of the tapestries - which were truly amazing. And in incredible repair too given their age.
      Isn't Diamonds lovely? It replaces another similar sculpture (which I also loved) which was struck by lightening and shattered.

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    2. Oh no! Is this one made of glass?

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    3. I've just googled him, and discovered that he's a New Zealander!! (*proud*)

      And no, it's made of "aluminium extrusion and mesh painted with synthetic polymer automotive paints" -perhaps it will be stronger than the last one?

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    4. Alexia: I hope so. The last one was there for years, but it was a direct strike which shattered it. I can't remember what it was made of - not glass I think.

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  22. Too much gold for my taste too! But those handcrafted details always get me, such exquisite skills!

    Liked the tapestry, the busts (the drapes of the garments have my undying admiration), and the sphinx. Absolutely loved the 'diamond' sculpture, mind blown!

    I've been to Paris, but couldn't make to Versailles because of snow. Thanks much for showing me what I missed :)

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: The handicrafts blow me away. Every time. You are so right about the drapes of the garments.
      I am very pleased to see another vote for Diamonds. I take another photo (another several photos) each time I go to the gallery.

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  23. My goodness, what treasures I see - beautiful.

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    1. Margaret-whiteangel: It is amazing isn't it? And this is a fraction of what Versailles contained. A very small fraction.

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  24. Looks great and interesting

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    1. Gosia k: It was very, very interesting. And well presented too.

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  25. Ah, yes. The sun king. Fabulous to look at but I certainly couldn't stand to live in that kind of opulence as a steady diet! I'd gag. :)

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    1. River Fairchild: Being a complete klutz I expect that precious treasures would come apart in my hands too...

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  27. I wish I was there with you. I love baroque art style. All those curlicues and gild and colors.

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    1. Olga Godim: Intricate and beautiful as it is, it is not my favourite. Incredible to look at though.

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  28. Dear EC
    It looks a wonderful exhibition. The items were so ostentatious but this emphasised the wealth and power of their owners. Is it any wonder their lifestyles eventually became the catalyst for revolution?
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Ellie Foster: And yet others who lead ostentatious lifestyles are safe. Complicated. And yes, it was a wonderful exhibition.

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  29. I like to think there is a birdnest in the Diamonds sculpture. Its great that you make use of such a great gallery and the wonderful exhibitions they have...

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    1. Anna: I like to think about that birdsnest too - and will certainly be looking for birds in it next time we go. This year I suspect the bird has flown, but with luck they will be back next year.

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  30. Wow - pomp and exaggerated grandeur everywhere!

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  31. That must be amazing to see in person! I was thinking the shape of that triangular china tray with cups makes such sense. And Marie's chair - it looks to be in such great condition.

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    1. Lynn: I was amazed at the condition of so many of the exhibits. Fragile ephemera which has lasted. And lasted. Long after the makers and users are dust.

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  32. "This is Neil Dawson's 'Diamonds'..."

    I read this at first as Neil Diamond and now I have lounge music stuck in my head!



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    1. Sandi: I am sorry to have given you an earworm - and hope you have evicted it.

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  33. Hi EC - loved seeing these ... no wonder you make a plan to visit - fascinating and I loved the photos ... incredible - thank you. The Neil Dawson Diamond sculpture is just brilliant - no wonder you're hooked on that ... such fun and thanks for sharing with us ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: Even when there are no 'special' exhibitions the gallery is full of wonder. And joy.

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  34. Impressive indeed. Fascinating exhibit. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Mason Canyon: Thank you. It is my pleasure to share the wonders.

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  35. You get to see do many interesting things where you live. Your blog is a joy to read.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: What a truly lovely thing to say. Thank you. We do have a lot in our city, and only see a fraction of what is on offer.

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  36. Wow! It is amazing what the rich and powerful will collect. I'm glad the working class gets to see this stuff.

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    1. Jono: It is amazing isn't it? I suspect the working class always saw it. They made it, cleaned it, repaired it. Sigh.

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  37. Ah the decadance! Great exhibition. I particularly like the harp. I'd like to have a go on that I would. I suspect they wouldn't let me. Hahahaha x

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    1. All Consuming: I suspect you are right. I wonder who last DID play her harp. And whether it is in tune?

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  38. A window into someone's decadence! But they are beautiful treasures.

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    1. John Wiswell: Rather a lot of decadence for the privileged few.

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  39. The entryway looks like you are entering a palace doesn't it?

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    1. Sandra Cox: They carried that look off well didn't they?

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  40. I enjoy looking at beautiful things and sharing the experience with others.

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  41. I would love this museum LC, and the exhibit. Really appreciate you going to all the trouble of taking so many photos of the Versailles exhibit, even though it's not to your taste. Those of us out here who love those kind of antiques - me included - would love to go to the real Versailles but this is the absolute next best thing. Your photos are great! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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    1. Denise inVA: I am glad that you enjoyed it. Really glad. I was fascinated, but love antiques from other periods.

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  42. The beautiful sculpture outside is a stark contrast to this special exhibition, and I like it much more. I've been to Versailles many many years ago, and I couldn't understand why everybody (?) is so crazy about this place. I didn't like it at all, not even the gardens. I don't think I'm cut out for all this grandeur and luxury. However, it certainly is interesting to see these things to understand how times were back then and why history happened the way it did. If only we would learn from it...

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    1. Carola Bartz: Thank you. I was in two minds about including 'Diamonds' in the post, but am glad I did. I too like it more than this 'treasures' in this exhibition. As a species we are definitely slow learners. Very slow.

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  43. Just the thought of the cost of transporting that mind-boggling exhibition to these shores is mind-boggling! Magnificent in every way!

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    1. Lee: The cost, and the sheer mechanics of wrapping everything up and ensuring it was safe.

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  44. We love art galleries and museums. Each time we visit a new city, one of the first things we seek out is the museums.
    Your museum looks amazing.

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    1. Rick Watson: We are lucky and have several really impressive museums and galleries. This one is great, and some day I will take you to the National museum as well. A truly bizarre building, with some incredible contents.

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  45. As you say, 'how the other half lives'. When walking through Versailles outside of Paris, I couldn't stop shaking my head. No wonder there was a revolution. Great pics.

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    1. Denise Covey: And, as I thought when I put those words down, how the other one percent (and perhaps less) lives...

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  46. These beautiful objects are its life's things. Fortunately, there are remaining, so that we can admire and look back at history.

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    1. orvokki: Given the violence of the revolution I am amazed at how much survived. And hope we can learn from history.

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  47. Oh EC, a real heart stomping. Beautiful.

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  48. Diamonds is amazing. I can't imagine how he created that.

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    1. Sandra Cox: It is deceptively simple, and I think beautiful.

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  49. If one can't get to Versailles, then having a bit of Versailles come to one's backyard is amazing! They were seeming not in short supply of gold. The Egyptian motif-objects and busts are a sight to behold.
    Cool that you were able to visit this exhibit!

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    1. Bea: We have been so lucky with the exhibitions which have been brought here. I particularly like a Chihuly glass exhibit - which we saw twice. And Monet. And Dali. And Constable...

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  50. What a wonderful museum! NGA means something else in America, A workplace sorta. Nevertheless, I could spend hours discovering and learning Versailles! Wonderful that we have opportunities to learn no matter where we live!

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    1. Ginger Dawn Harman: The gallery is lovely. Even when there are no 'special' exhibitions on, there is much to see, to learn, to wonder.

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  51. When YoungerSon and The Bride were in France after finishing Uni, they went all the way to Versailles only to find it closed! So I am hoping the exhibition might come here to Canada one day, so we can all go and see how the other half lives, as you put it. Great photos. I wouldn't want to be doing the dusting.

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    1. Shammickite: Considering how often we have seen the same exhibitions it isn't out of the question. I hope you can see it. And no, the cleaning would have been a full time job.

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  52. Definitely too much gold for me! Fascinating to see how the rich lived way back when. The style doesn't work for me, but I do find all the details interesting. :) History is so fun to learn about and artifacts definitely help.

    I love The Diamond! How beautiful! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: I find history fascinating too, though I like it best when I can find out how the 'ordinary' person lived. Not nearly as comfortably as royalty and the nobles in this time that is for sure.

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  53. Es ist immer schön deise alten Dinge zu sehen.

    Noke

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  54. I am tempted to say these treasures are not to my taste but y'know, if I lived in a place as grand as a palace, maybe they would be. I do have a deep appreciation for the richness of detail, texture and colour.

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    1. kylie: Like you I appreciate the workmanship, and its execution. I don't think I would like to live with it though.

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  55. I visited Versailles in the flesh 15 years ago. Very opulent but the whole place smelled like pee and constant reminders to watch out for 'pick-pockets' which they had no French word for even though I doubt the pick-pockets were English speakers.

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    1. Sue in Italia/In the Land of Cancer: Like 'le bleu jeans'? And I have to ask, what sort of pee? People, dogs, cats?

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  56. What a wonderfully staged display, and what an achievement to reconstruct it on the other side of the world. I wonder about the insurance costs too!

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    1. Relatively Retiring: I suspect the insurance costs were HUGE. And wonder who met them. Probably us.

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  57. Thank you for the super tour of the museum. Wonderful artwork. That is why I really enjoy looking at artwork because it is so inspirational.

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    1. Rasma Raisters: We love it too. And need to go more regularly.

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  58. Neil Dawson's Diamonds looks exquisite, with a simple beauty that is beautifully understated in comparison with the intricate opulence of the other objects

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    1. Kim: And Diamonds has a bird's nest in it too. Which I love. Hopefully whatever bird it is will be back next year.

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