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C’est magnifique! We preview the NGA’s Versailles blockbuster

By Charlotte Harper 8 December 2016 2

View of Versailles from the Orangerie. Photo: Charlotte Harper

For me, it was the gilded bronze, embossed copper, porcelain birdcage and the paintings of the gardens of Versailles (such as the View of Versailles from the Orangerie avove and Saturn Fountain in the gardens of Versailles below).

The birdcage and other furnishings from Versailles. Photo: Charlotte Harper

The Saturn Fountain in the gardens of Versailles. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Latona and her Children, the centrepiece of the Latona Fountain. Photo: Charlotte Harper

For exhibition ambassador Tina Arena, it is the marble sculpture of Latona and her children (above) that forms the centrepiece of the Latona Fountain on the main axis of Versailles’ gardens.

Marie-Antoinette, right, with her harp, left. Photo: Charlotte Harper

For you, it might be Marie-Antoinette’s harp (above), or the Nicolas-Andre Monsiau painting of Louis XVI giving his instructions to La Perouse before the oval officer sailed south for Australia in 1785 (below).

King Louis XIV meets with La Perouse before the naval officer's departure for Australia in 1785.  Photo: Charlotte Harper

It might be the perfume that wafts through the entire exhibition space, Royal Delight by master perfumer Francis Kurkdijian, or the music that accompanies you on your journey through the exhibits.

Fragrance competition. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Or it might be the array of fine wares on sale in the exhibition shop, because of course, the Gallery has outdone itself once more on this front. Think actual gold crowns, slippers and frocks fit for dauphines, golden chocolate and row upon row of French champagne.

Slippers on sale at the exhibition store. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Frocks for dauphines at the exhibition store.  Photo: Charlotte Harper

The exhibition store. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Whatever it is that captures your imagination, taking you back to the era of the Sun King and his descendants, a visit to the Versailles: Treasures from the Palace summer blockbuster is a must.

The exhibition opens tomorrow and runs until April 17, 2017. You can catch up on our live video coverage of the media preview including a sneak peek at the exhibition and the store here:

Still lifes. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Paul Bangay garden installation inspired by Versailles at the entrance to the NGA. Photo: Charlotte Harper

An ornate barometer. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Pictured are many of the priceless works on show during Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, which opens tomorrow and runs at the National Gallery of Australia until April 17, 2017. Photos: Charlotte Harper

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C’est magnifique! We preview the NGA’s Versailles blockbuster
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Masquara 8:51 pm 09 Dec 16

Terrific. I’ve seen it all in situ at Versailles, but this looks like a pretty good representation!

Maryann Mussared 3:45 pm 08 Dec 16

This is the most amazing treat for people who live here and visitors coming over the holiday break! I expect Canberra will be very busy over New Year and January and parking will be at a premium at the Gallery, however there should be parking available readily as so many people who work in the Parliamentary Triangle will probably be away. And I can’t wait to get into the gift shop!

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