A Queen in Versailles: Tokyo celebrates Marie-Antoinette with exhibition

  • AFP, New Dehli
  • Updated: Oct 19, 2016 13:05 IST
Marie-Antoinette in court costume, a replica with modifications by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun. (Château de Versailles)

An exhibition dedicated to the last queen of France is being held at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. ‘Marie-Antoinette, a Queen in Versailles’ runs from October 25, 2016, to February 26, 2017.

Marie-Antoinette hunting with dogs by Louis Auguste Brun. (Château de Versailles)

Known to her detractors as The Austrian Woman, Marie-Antoinette is a particularly popular figure in the Land of the Rising Sun, notably thanks to Rieko Ikeda’s manga The Rose of Versailles based on the famous queen. It’s therefore no surprise to see the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo hold an exhibition dedicated to this iconic figure of French history.

Marie-Antoinette and the heir apparent in the Trianon gardens by Eugène Bataille. (Château de Versailles)

‘Marie-Antoinette, a Queen in Versailles’ showcases the work of Marie-Antoinette’s preferred artisans, with furnishings and precious objects including tableware from the Sèvres Royal Porcelain Works.

Visitors can even step into a reconstruction of the Queen’s private apartment, dating from 1782, originally located on the ground floor of the Marble Courtyard at the Palace of Versailles. The bedroom and bathroom are reconstructed with a majority of furnishings, while the stucco library is recreated in 3D.

Rooster-shaped box, unknown artist. (Château de Versailles)

The exhibition also focuses on the major events in Marie-Antoinette’s life, such as her wedding, the day she became queen and the birth of her children. Darker days are evoked too, such as the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, as well as her imprisonment and execution.

Marie-Antoinette’s entourage and family also feature in the exhibition, with portraits of Louis XV — her husband’s grandfather — as well as her brothers in law, the Counts of Provence and Artois.

In total, the exhibition features more than 200 pieces, most of which hail from the Palace of Versailles collections.

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