Coupe du principal corps de bâtiment du château de Versailles [etc.]

Translated Print Title: 
[Cross Section of the Main Building of the Palace of Versailles]
Series/Book Title: 
Architecture française: ou, Recueil des plans, élévations, coupes et profils des églises, maisons royales, palais, hôtels & édifices les plus considérables de Paris…
Paris: C. A. Jombert

Jacques-François Blondel was an influential writer, engraver, and teacher of architecture. The last of the four published volumes of his monumental Architecture française includes a detailed discussion of the palace of Versailles, illustrated with twenty-six large-scale engravings (in part recycled from earlier collections). Unlike the volumes of prints commissioned by Louis XIV, Blondel’s project was not celebratory, but didactic and critical. While praising the many “beauties” of Versailles, such as the Hall of Mirrors, he also frankly pointed out what he considered its architectural faults; in his opinion, for example, the excessive height of the chapel created dissonance and asymmetry. The two-plate foldout seen here was thus meant “only to give an idea of the immensity of this palace, not to provide a model for imitation.”

Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology. Purchase supported by the John Rupert Martin Book Fund.