It's All in The Details — The Opulent Designs of The Chairs of Versailles

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


In the year 1668, Louis XIV began his expansion of a small chateau into what we now know as the opulent Palace of Versailles.

Every surface and object in the palace was painstakingly designed and created by thousands of artists in the Royal Academy, led by the three head designers — Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and Andre Le Notre — in order to create a palace fit for the Sun King and his court of almost 20,000.

Visitors can now explore the palace and see for themselves, the bed that the king once laid upon, the Hall of Mirrors where he used to hold elaborate parties, and be dazzled by every gilded door frame, carpet, and chair.

The chairs of Versailles

Recently, art director, photographer, and artist Malorie Shmyr visited Versailles and found herself completely enthralled by the objects that fill the palace — especially by the many chairs that can be found throughout the hundreds of rooms.

Being engulfed in the opulence of Versailles left me trying to imagine what it would be like to live in a space where not one square inch was forgotten about.
 
I studied the every day objects in each room, imagining using them for their function instead of just an object on display. 

I honed in on the elaborately detailed chairs because it was exciting to see a normally humble piece of furniture dressed to the nines!

When Malorie returned home from her trip, she contacted me wanting to find a place to share the photos that she took of Versailles’ version of this every day object. Check out the details that she captured in the images below.

See more of Malorie’s amazing work on her website or on Instagram @malorieshmyr.

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The chairs of Versailles
The chairs of Versailles



Art or Eyesore? The Victor Emmanuel II Monument AKA "The Wedding Cake" In Rome

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


The glaringly white Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II AKA Altare della Patria AKA Il Vittoriano AKA The Victor Emmanuel II Monument AKA The Wedding Cake was built to honour the first king of unified Italy, Victor Emmanuel.

Completed in 1935, it sits in the core of Rome between the huge Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill. The marble monstrosity is 135m wide and 70m high making it clearly visible to most of the city.

Though impressive, this monument has had a contentious relationship with the people of Rome since its completion. Many consider it to be pompous, too large, and crowded with too many statues. Its stacked appearance has caused it to be called “the wedding cake” and “the typewriter” by residents and visitors alike. 

But, it is not its gaudy appearance that has created the most controversy, it is the location of the monument. 

Capitoline Hill is one of the 7 original hills of Rome and was home to the earliest Roman’s religious and ruling power. The hill represents thousands of years of history and ritual that was partially destroyed when the monument was erected.

The Wedding Cake Roman Monument

To only add to the reasons why locals dislike the building is the fact that many tourists are drawn to it because of its impressive size and bright shiny marble. They walk past the important brown remains of the forums of ancient Rome to explore the massive "wedding cake", viewing it as an example of what the ancient architecture looked like in its heyday and ignoring the history that it eclipses. 

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victor emmanuel II monument in Rome
The Wedding Cake in Rome



Art or Eyesore? The Eiffel Tower History You Probably Didn't Know

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Nicknamed La dame de fer (the iron lady), the Eiffel Tower is one of the most well-recognized buildings in the world. This latticed iron structure, located in the Champ de Mais in Paris, was erected in 1889 for the World’s Fair of that same year.

Though the tower is now considered to be a cultural and global icon of France, beloved by the majority of its citizens, this was not always the case.

When engineer Gustave Eiffel (the man after whom the tower is named, who also created New York’s Statue of Liberty) put forth a proposal for the 320m (324m including the antenna) building, he was met with massive opposition from the artistic elite.

Some of the most influential members of the art establishment banded together in a group called The Committee of Three Hundred in order to defend what they considered to be “the untouched beauty of Paris”. 

They insisted that the “metal asparagus”, a useless monstrosity, would humiliate and overshadow beloved monuments like Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe.

To them, it was an ugly and overblown work of engineering. 

Every 7 years, the Eiffel Tower is painted with 50-60 tonnes of paint to protect it from rust. Painters use three different colors, with the darkest on the bottom and lightest on the top, to enhance the impression of height

Despite their objections, construction on the Eiffel Tower moved forward and was visited by over 2 million Parisians the day that it opened to the public.

Though many grew to accept the tower, there were still some from The Committee who refused to accept its presence. It is said that writer Guy de Maupassant ate lunch every day at its ground floor restaurant — the only place, he claimed, where he couldn’t see the offensive thing.

Though some still see it as an eyesore overrun with tourists, the 7,000 tons of metal are now widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art.

What do you think — art or eyesore?  

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris