FORTIER, Claude-François (1775-1835) after COURVOISIER
Vue du Chateau de Versailles, du côté des Jardins
Paris: Published by chez Basset, circa 1800. Hand-coloured engraving heightened with touches of gum arabic. Printed on laid paper. Very good condition apart from some overall light soiling and minor foxing, two skillfully repaired small tears in the top margin, a couple of mild water stains in the left margin, and a few tiny nicks at the edges of the sheet. Sheet size: 16 3/8 x 22 inches. Plate mark: 13 5/8 x 18 1/4 inches.
A stunning view of the impressive grand facade of the chateau of Versailles as seen from the garden.
Originally a modest hunting lodge built by King Louis XIII in 1623, Versailles was transformed into one of the largest and most extravagant palaces in the world during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715). The self-proclaimed Sun King remodelled Versailles to demonstrate and symbolize his absolute power as monarch and the glory of France. He enlisted the services of the finest French architects of the era: Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646-1708), Louis Le Vau (1612-1670), and Charles Le Brun (1619-1690). The extensive project of expansion and renovation began in 1661. The landscape architect André Le Notre (1613-1700) was responsible for redesigning the chateau's luxuriant park, including vast terraces and numerous fountains. In 1682, Versailles became the official royal residence.