Usually, the only thing we remember about French royal funerals is the proclamations by the herald at arms when the body is lowered into the tomb, “The King is dead. Long live the King!” The exhibition presented at the Palace of Versailles for the tercentennial of the death of Louis XIV and the accompanying book enable us to view and understand a little-known ritual: the great King’s funeral ceremonies, from his lying in state in the mortuary room on 1 September 1715 to his burial at the Basilica of Saint Denis the following 23 October. This funeral was the culmination, as well as a profound renewal, of a centuries-old ceremonial that was to become one of the most dazzling manifestations of the civilisation at court.
Royal paintings and engravings for the circumstances, medallions and medals, archived documents such as the King’s will, copper plates placed on the coffin or heart reliquaries and reconstitutions of the temporary decors take us step by step to the apotheosis of the grandiose service at Saint Denis, a veritable funerary opera in Baroque Europe. The splendour of this ritual did not die with the monarchy, but continued through the regime changes in the state funerals of the 19th century.
Co-publishers : Editions Tallandier - Château de Versailles
Authors : Gérard Sabatier and Béatrix Saule
Dimensions : 24,00 x 28,00 cm
Date of publishing : 15 octobre 2015
Language : French