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20 December 2012 @ 09:45 pm
Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette  




Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette

At the Legion of Honor in San Francisco




From the museum website: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco present an unparalleled collection of decorative arts from the Musée du Louvre, Paris, including some of the most exquisite treasures of the French monarchy from the time of Louis XIV until the Revolution of 1789. Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette is the story of French royal patronage, and the showcased objects in the exhibition are nothing less than dazzling: the Gobelins manufactory’s masterwork mosaic tabletop of semiprecious stones; the gemmes de la couronne, precious hardstone vases collected by Louis XIV; the présents du Roi, including diamond-and-gem snuffboxes made for the royal family to present as gifts; personal items made for Louis XV’s private use or for use by his mistresses, Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry, including exquisite Sèvres porcelain and silver; and Marie-Antoinette’s personal collection of precious vases made of agate and other hardstones.

Many of the objects in the exhibition have never been shown in the United States and indeed, several have never left France. "Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette" is an unparalleled collection of decorative objects from France’s most illustrious royalty, direct from the Musée du Louvre, and displayed for the first time in the United States in this exclusive presentation.


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Janelle and I went up to see the exhibition today; she even brought pencils and paper so that we could sketch for a while.

If you ever wondered just how rich the King of France was in the years leading up to the revolution, one look at this collection of objects from the Louvre is enough to leave you gobsmacked.   It was fun, but when you count up all these snuffboxes made with gold and diamonds, and think about how hard life was for French peasants during that period...well, no wonder they revolted!  It does make me think of Americans and our electronics...how is an iPod all that different from a snuffbox, when you're living on the streets?

But just as the iPod is the epitome of Apple's design aesthetic, the treasures displayed here are some of the finest examples created during the Baroque.  I'm glad that I got a chance to see them.