Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Queen's Theater

Marie Antoinette loved to perform. Before becoming the Dauphine of France back home in Austria, she actually took comedic acting classes to perfect the French language.In 1777 she asked her architect, Richard Mique to take inspiration from the auditorium at the Chateau de Choisy (built for her predecessor of the Petit Trianon, Madame de Pompadour) and build her a simple theater on the grounds of her little estate.The theater was completed in 1779 but the Queen stopped acting here after the death of her child in 1780 and remained in the audience.The entrance features a classic pediment, sculpted by DeDeschamps, supported by 2 ionic columns. I love the little randomly placed window here!The entrance is a very small vestibule, covered in blue silk, with a white sculpted doorway into the theater.
As this was a private space not meant to impress the public (and France was hemorrhaging money at the time), the decorations are all of paper mache and painted to look like finer materials.Looks like the real thing though!The theater lies right behind the very formal part of the garden near the French Pavilionand acts as a transition into the English GardensDirectly across from the entrance to the theater is the English garden arbour.
The thing I found most intriguing was the bootscrape of the theater though.
So simple and unadorned; Marie Antoinette scraped mud off her shoes here after walking to the theater and it hasn't gone anywhere.


Love Your Homes said...

Hi Stefan,
I have a passion for this old the french epoques of rococo and neoclassisim.

I'm playing Barbara's latest too...great album!

Michael Hampton said...

Love the entrance portico! French neoclassic at its most refined and elegant! I might need to refer to your photos for a possible watercolor. What do you think?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Michael -that sounds like a fabulous idea! I would love to see the results :-)

home before dark said...

Wow, a trifecta. Your photos, a lovely lesson in history, and Michael Hampton's future watercolor. Yummy! Loved all of that drama, and such beautiful places. Like the wonderful style of the 30s where everything seemed so elegant, you do have to step back and remember it against the horrid times most people were enduring. All things considered, it is amazing so much the Louis' world has been maintained.

regina joi said...

I have never responded to your site, for it is perfect...but the best of ALL was the bootscrape of Marie Antoinette and her friends at the Entrance to the Mique Theatre of the Petit Trianon. I love that it is probably the only original and real artifact left that has been unpreserved and loved, all the while sitting there on the while waiting for YOUR camera and soul to find.

Love all the you know the site ARCHITECTURALWATERCOLORS.COM, these are the 2 best artists of Archtectural in Paris, and you would love their work.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Interesting post and lovely pictures as always.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Regina, I love their work and have a series of prints they produce. Someday i'll have room to have them framed and hung on a wall! The bootscrape was just totally intense to me - something so utilitarian made it through, basically unnoticed, for 100s of years!

HBD - good point! While 1% of the population was living in stylish luxury, everyone else toiled for them. It's lucky that so much of versailles has been preserved, unlike other places which are not appreciated and destroyed -such as the sad news today about that lovely mansion outside of Philedphia, LA RONDA, which is currently being demolished as I type. It brings tears to my eyes to think of it and that nothing could be done to save it from the stupidity & greed of the owners. I hope they're very happy in their new mcmansion -and that it falls on their fat heads.