When unpublished documents are made available to researchers these texts always offer surprises and new angles for interpreting the past. This is the type of intellectual opportunity provided once again by Thierry Sarmant, historian of institutions and the arts, and an outstanding expert on the 17th century. With Raphaël Masson, curator of the Palace of Versailles, he has chosen to publish the letters sent by Louvois, Superintendant of the King's Buildings, thus offering students of the 17th century a mass of extraordinary new research material.[...]
Instead of precise and unquestioned orders, which one might imagine out of naivety or indulgence, what is revealed is a rudimentary administration, uncertain management and shifting tactics. Instead of the informed centralisation sure of itself that the tradition attributes to this government, we discover the vagueness of the information available to it and, more curiously still, the administration's submission to the common conditions of the market. Instead of the straight and imperturbable line of command that historians claim for this reign, these letters demonstrate the subjectivity of the choices made. The decisions on construction work, the selections of artists and the signing of leases were the result of personal relations and loyalty to social networks as they existed at this time, i.e. based on service, family relations and friendships.
Edition: CTHS Edited by Raphael Masson and Thierry Sarma
Published : December 2007
Dimensions : 16 x 24 cm
ISBN : 9782735506446