New York University
29 January 2016
Convenors: Jeffrey Collins, Meredith Martin, and Robert Wellington
Versailles is often seen as the epitome of “Frenchness,” yet the palace and its contents were profoundly shaped by encounters with people and objects from around the world. This symposium builds upon recent colloquia and exhibitions such as La Chine à Versailles: art et diplomatie au XVIIIe siècle (2014) and Voyageurs étrangers à la cour de France, 1589-1789 (2014) to emphasize the international character of Versailles between the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XVI and to situate its art and architecture in a global context.
The day-long public event at the Washington Square Campus of NYU brings together an international group of scholars to explore connections between Versailles and a wide variety of geographical regions and cultures, from Thailand to Tunisia to Dutch Brazil. Papers focus on a range of visual and material culture that relates to cross-cultural exchanges at Versailles in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including the depiction of ambassadorial visits to the palace; gifts to and from the French Court; objects and images made for Versailles and its inhabitants that depict non-European cultures or reveal cross-cultural resonances; exoticism and fashion; and examples of art and architecture made outside of Europe that were inspired by Versailles.
Versailles in the World, 1660-1789 is timed to coincide with the preparation of a major exhibition on the foreign visitor at Versailles that will open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2017. It has been made possible through the generous support of New York University, Bard Graduate Center, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.