Friday, January 7, 2011

The Trianon de Porcelaine - Grand Trianon (since 1687)

The Large Trianon or Mrble Trianon, built by Hardouin-Mansart and de Cotte in 1687-88. The idea for the peristyle, or open centrsl porch, came from Louis XIV himself. 

Located at the northern end of the transverse arm of the Grand Canal, the Trianon de Porcelaine formed a pendant to the Ménagerie. Designed by Louis LeVau and François d'Orbay and built between 1669-1670 as a pleasure pavilion for Louis XIV and his mistress, the marquise de Montespan, the central pavilion and its four smaller buildings were covered with blue and white earthenware (rather than porcelain, which had not yet been made in Europe) tiles in imitation of porcelain tiles. Regrettably, the Trianon de Porcelaine was relatively short-lived, owing to the waning of the marquise de Montespan's popularity and the maintenance of the exterior tile revetment—tiles would fracture and detach from the surface of the buildings due to the cold weather. In 1687, the Trianon de Porcelaine was destroyed; but, as the location of favored by Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon was built on the same site.
It has been said that Louis XIV built Versailles for his court, Trianon for his family, and Marly for his friends—and the Grand (Porcelain) Trianon did serve the Sun King and his family. Built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the Grand Trianon is unabashedly one of his greatest works.
Constructed of pink Languedoc marble between 1687-1689 in an Italianate-style, this two-story structure succeeds—architecturally and stylistically—where the chateau of Versailles fails.
Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the structure in two distinct sections. An entry courtyard separated the two principal wings of the building. To the left (south), this wing originally housed the service area as well as the private apartments of Louis XIV. The right (north) wing contained two enfilades—one opening to the upper garden to the west, the other opening to the wall-enclosed jardin du roi (King's garden) to the east. The area opening to the north of the entry courtyard originally contained a small theater. The two wings communicate by an open colonnade, which also serves as a transitional element linking the courtyard with the gardens beyond.

 View from the peristyle's interior. Its colonnade opens freely onto gardens. In the background, the wing containing the gallery is visible. 

Situated perpendicular to the north wing is the Galerie. With a length of nearly 30 meters and lit by five windows on the north and 11 windows on the south, the Galerie is the largest room of the Grand Trianon and its placement serves as a northern protective barrier for the upper garden.
Constructed west of the Galerie and running perpendicularly to the north is the wing known as Trianon-sous-bois. It was in this part of the house that Louis XIV provided apartments for members of his family.

The Trianon-sous-Bois is one of Hardouin-Mansart's neglected masterpieces. It is not clear why this final extension of the wing of the Grand (Marble) Trianon was built of stone. This wing, while contemporary with the rest of the building, is astonishingly "modern": it anticipates the architectural style of 1750-70, the last years of Louis XV's reign.  

 In the area east of Trianon-sous-bois and north of the Galerie was a marshy area that Jules Hardouin-Mansart converted into the jardin des sources. Reminiscent of the bosquet des sources in the garden of Versailles, this area featured rivulets and islets set in a wooded setting.


 The gallery leading to the Trianon-sous-Bois.It is decorated with twenty-four paintings representing the gardens of Versailles and Trianon, executed by Allegrain, Martin, and Cotelle (1688-90). 

As with the chateau of Versailles, the Grand Trianon underwent many changes and modifications during the reign of Louis XIV, especially the relocation of his apartment from the south wing to the north wing. However, significantly different from Versailles, was the decor of the Grand Trianon. Where Versailles' decor extolled the heroic actions of Louis XIV in the guise of Augustus, Alexander, and Apollo, this didactic component is not evident in the décor of the Grand Trianon. The style of the Grand Trianon reflected a more relaxed atmosphere and life-style that was removed from the constraints of protocol and etiquette found at Versailles.
During the reign of Louis XV, the Grand Trianon underwent minor modifications: the theater was removed and a suite of rooms opening onto the jardin du roi was redecorated for the Marquise de Pompadour. Louis XVI effectively ignored the Grand Trianon; and, during the Revolution, the furniture—as at Versailles—was sold. However, unlike Versailles, the Grand Trianon did not have an uncertain future.
    The structural frames of the extant pavilios were ratained, as only theit ceramic facings had deteriorated. Their incorporation into the new sturcure goes some way toward explaining the unusual plan of the Marble Trianon, notably its long gallery, which joined the former Perfume Room to the main building. The plan onf Monsart's first proposed design, which attempted to encompass all the old pavilions, was even more eccentric. It was much simpified in the wake of the king's insistence of the peristyle, or central portico, which briged the gap between two lateral pavilions of the former complez, while the old central pavilion, felt detached by this scheme, was demolished.  
Napoléon I was enamored of the Marble (Grand) Trianon and ordered the building remodeled and redecorated for his and his family's use. During the reign of Louis-Philippe, the Grand Trianon was an especial favorite residence of the king and royal family. Much of the redecoration ordered under Napoléon I and Louis-Philippe is found today at the Grand Trianon.


1690-1703 : Louis XIV
1703-1711 : le Grand Dauphin, son of Louis XIV
From 1708 : Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate in the Trianon-sous-Bois wing
1711-1712 : The Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, son of the above and his wife
1712-1714 : The Duke and Duchess of Berry, brother of the above
1717 : Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia and his entourage
c.1720 : Madame la Duchesse, daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan
1740 and 1743 : Stanislas Leszczynski, former king of Poland
1774 : Louis XV, there the week before his death
1810-1814 : Empress Marie Louise, wife of Napoléon I
1830-1848 : Queen Marie Amélie, wife of Louis Philippe I

The saloon of Mirrors, created sometime between 1688 and 1703 by Hardouin-Mansart or de Cotte. This remarkable early example of the "white" decors that would proliferate in the 18th century, with plaster ceiling and ornamental woodwork all painted in the light colors. Gilding had been projected but was not carried out for lack of funds.  

The room of the setting Sun (Cabinet du Couchant), also known as the Malachite Salon. Decorated in 1699 by Lassurance. The furnishings are those of 1881. Beneath the mirror, a table with malachite surface by Jacob-Desmalter. Here Napoleon  kept the collection of malachite given him by Czar Alexander I after their meeting at Tilsit. 

The spacious Louis-Philippe salon in the Large Trianon. This was created under Louis-Philippe by the joying of two adjacent rooms, it's now finished with pieces contemporary with his reign. The paintings, however, date from the Trianon of Louis XIV. 

The Large Trianon bedroom. This room was remodeled several times, being occupied successively by Louis XIV, The Grand Dauphin, the empress, and Louis-Philippe. The alcove dates from Louis XIV. The bed (1809) was commissioned by Napoleon for the Tuileries. 

 The emperor's bedroom. This room, also remodeled several times, has been restored to its state in 1809. 

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