The Versailles Effect: Objects, Lives, and Afterlives of the Domaine

The essays in this volume show that Versailles was not the static creation of one man, but a hugely complex cultural space; a centre of power, but also of life, love, anxiety, creation, and an enduring palimpsest of aspirations, desires, and ruptures. The splendour of the Château and the masterpieces of art and design that it contains mask a more complex and sometimes more sordid history of human struggle and achievement. The case studies presented by the contributors to this book cannot provide a comprehensive account of the Palace of Versailles and its domains, the life within its walls, its visitors, and the art and architecture that it has inspired from the seventeenth century to the present day: from the palace of the Sun King to the Penthouse of Donald Trump. However, this innovative collection will reshape-or even radically redefine-our understanding of the palace of Versailles and its posterity.


“With its emphasis on artistic process and collaboration, as well as on questions of race and gender, The Versailles Effect rewrites our understanding of Versailles as both a real and imagined place, from its construction in the seventeenth century to its reverberations in contemporary culture. Its lucidly written essays by leading scholars in the field are an indispensable resource for understanding the Château and its global artistic and political networks.” –  Amy Freund, Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts & Education Endowed Chair of Art History and Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University, USA

“This splendid anthology will fascinate all students of Versailles and Court culture more generally. By revealing new facets (and inhabitants) of an ostensibly familiar site, it opens fresh vistas on the role of visual and material culture in the palace’s enduring life.” –  Jeffrey Collins, Professor of Art History & Material Culture, Bard Graduate Center, USA

“The refreshingly original and broad-ranging essays assembled in this volume eloquently demonstrate that Versailles was so much more than the magnificent palace of the Sun King. It was a domain, physical, cultural, artistic, political; an experience, and an idea, whose power, meanings, and effects still resonate today.” –  Melissa Hyde, Professor of Art History and Distinguished Teaching Scholar, University of Florida, USA