Vaux-le-Vicomte

Department of French & Italian

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Learn more about the rivalry between Louis XIV and Fouquet. . .explore

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Portrait of Fouquet. Compare and contrast the portrait of Fouquet with those of Louis XIV and Colbert. What aspects of the portrait are accentuated? Why? Does Fouquet seem more like a bourgeois or a noble? Explain. What do you think of his expression?

tags: painting, Fouquet, Bourdon, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Aerial view of the chateau 1. What impresses you in this shot? What are the chief elements of the estate? How are they arranged? How do they relate to one another? What are the predominant shapes and motifs?

tags: architecture, chateaux—exteriors, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Aerial view of the chateau 2. How is the chateau integrated into surrounding nature? What is the role of nature in the planning of the chateau? In what way does nature help to create the “desired image” for the chateau? In your opinion, why did such noteworthy individuals as Fouquet and Louis XIV decide to build residences like Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles in the country and not in Paris?

tags: architecture, chateaux—exteriors, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Main fa�ade. What similarities and differences do you see between Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles? How does the style of Vaux-le-Vicomte influence that of Versailles? What did Le Vau and Hardouin-Mansart decide to reproduce from Vaux when building Versailles? What did they reject?

tags: architecture, chateaux—exteriors, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Main building’s fa�ade. It has been argued that the chateau’s exterior reflects more the baroque or Renaissance periods than the neo-classical. What do you think? When we compare this shot with the aerial views, is there a “trompe-l’oeil” effect on approaching the chateau? Namely, which aspects of the chateau are visible, and which are not, when one faces the structure directly? What is hidden? Why?

tags: architecture, chateaux—exteriors, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Fouquet’s chamber. Describe the decoration of the room, and analyze the choice of furniture and colors. What furniture in particular indicates luxury? What type of environment does the room try to create? How are the decorations excessive? Could one maintain a sense of intimacy in a room so ostentatious?

tags: Vaux-le-Vicomte, interiors
Fouquet’s cabinet. When compared to the bedchamber, what adjectives would you use to describe this room? How is the use of this space different? In your opinion, what was the purpose of the cabinet? How did the decorator attempt to maintain a balance between comfort and aesthetics?

tags: Vaux-le-Vicomte, interiors
Le Brun: Hercules salon. Why is the figure of Hercules so meaningful for both Fouquet and Louis XIV? What variety of materials does Le Brun use in order to decorate the room? Describe the interaction between these materials and the light. How does this interaction help to create the atmosphere?

tags: mythology, Le Brun, Vaux-le-Vicomte, interiors
Game room. How does this room distinguish itself from the others? How is the “trompe-l’oeil” effect visible? What emotional and aesthetic effects does the combination of wood and painting create? In your opinion, what was the real purpose of this room?

tags: Vaux-le-Vicomte, interiors
Tapestry. What “story” is told here? What relationship exists between the scene and its representation of social class? Why would Fouquet have chosen such a tapestry? Would one have seen a similar work at Versailles?

tags: Vaux-le-Vicomte, interiors
Gardens 1. Compare and contrast the park at Vaux-le-Vicomte with the park at Versailles. What are the most prominent similarities and differences?

tags: gardens, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Gardens 2. In what way is the landscape arranged? How do Le N�tre and Sylvestre give the simultaneous impression of openness and enclosure? Of a nature both mastered and wild?

tags: gardens, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Grotto, gardens. In general, what is the aesthetic function of grottos in a park? How is the grotto integrated into the landscape? What effect is produced between the colors of the stone and the surrounding natural colors?

tags: gardens, Vaux-le-Vicomte
Grotte, close view. How does this statue resemble those found at Versailles? In what way does it set itself apart? What does the figure appear to be doing? What does it seem to be thinking? Would Louis XIV have placed a similar statue in the gardens of his palace?

tags: gardens, sculpture, Vaux-le-Vicomte

 

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