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Versailles on Paper A Graphic Panorama of the Palace and Gardens of Louis XIV

on display in the Main Gallery

February 13, 2015 to July 19, 2015

This exhibition documents the contemporary representation of Versailles through a multifaceted array of prints, books, maps, medals, and manuscripts. It highlights in particular those elements that today survive only on paper: ephemeral festivals; short-lived creatures (courtiers, animals, flowers); fragile groves and fountains too costly to maintain; and once celebrated masterpieces of art and architecture that were irrevocably destroyed or altered. The “paper Versailles” is quite different from the one that millions of tourists visit every year and affords many unusual and surprising glimpses into a largely lost world. All the books and prints on display were created in the 17th and 18th centuries. With only a few exceptions, they were selected from the holdings of Firestone and Marquand Libraries, acquired over the past 140 years. A large number of these items came as gifts; therefore, this exhibition also honors the curators, alumni, and friends of the Princeton University Library who have built its remarkable collections.

Opening Lecture: Dr. Ian Thompson, author of The Sun King’s Garden and Reader in Landscape Architecture at Newcastle University, at 3:00 p.m. on 14 February 2015 in 101 McCormick Hall, sponsored by the Department of French & Italian and the Friends of the Princeton University Library.