At the Palace of Versailles, the King’s waiting room will be restored to its former glory

At the Palace of Versailles, the King’s waiting room will be restored to its former glory

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It is one of the main pieces of Palace of Versailles (Evelyn). Œil-de-Bœuf waiting room It has been undergoing a complete restoration since February 2023.

Gilding, sculptures, paintings, woodwork… About twenty people work every day to restore the splendor of this emblematic place since the end of the reign of Louis XIV.

An essential function in court

Built in 1701 by the king’s architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, this room is “exceptional from a stylistic point of view, at the crossroads of two centuries, where Louis XIV meets Louis XV,” says Frédéric Didier, chief architect. Architects of historical monuments. Responsible for the Palace of Versailles.

At the beginning of the eighteenth centuryH In the 14th century, Louis XIV asked Mansart to renovate part of his large apartment.

“The project was carried out at full speed in just a few months. Since the court is so large, Mansart had to combine two rooms: the Salon des Bassans and the bedroom of the former king. »

Frédéric Didier, chief architect of historical monuments, responsible for the Palace of Versailles.
Restoration of Versailles Castle
The woodwork has been removed and is being restored in a side room. © Alexander Markey

Located at a crossroads Hall of MirrorsThe king’s new bedroom, the queen’s small wardrobes, and the bull’s-eye-decorated antechamber, from which it takes its name, occupied an essential function at court.

“It was the antechamber for the king’s elevation ceremony,” the architect recalls.

The king’s sons, a doctor, or even courtiers waited in this room before entering the king’s bedroom. Sun King.

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A restored masterpiece of seventeenth-century paintings

It was not possible to decorate it from the end of 1984. Accroché in the old chamber of the Boeuf, the Family Royale table in the Olympe of Jean Nocret (1615-1672) was restored as a collection From the piece. About a dozen restorers worked to give new life to this massive 12-square-metre painting, which was created in 1670 by the painter appointed to Philippe d’Orléans, the king’s younger brother.
In this masterpiece of 17th-century French painting, Louis XIV, represented by Apollo, is shown surrounded by the closest members of the royal family. Thus 18 characters are represented.
The work was first installed at the Château de Saint-Cloud, owned by the king’s brother. before being incorporated into the woodwork of the anteroom at Œil-de-Bœuf.
The painting benefited from the sponsorship of the Society of Friends of Versailles.
The other six paintings in the room, two large equestrian portraits and four outdoor paintings, were also affected by this restoration.

Reopening in June and July 2024

“The waiting room will remain intact until the revolution,” notes Frederic Didier. The first restoration was carried out in 1814. Further restorations followed in the 1920s and 1930s, and then in 1984 when the Salon underwent its first major restoration. But even then, “the woodwork has not been completely removed,” asserts the lead architect of the historic ruins.

the Restoration site It should end just before the Olympics. The room can reopen in June and July 2024.

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