De Zonnekoning en de Republiek. De uitbeelding van de Nederlanden in de Spiegelzaal van Versailles
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Nowadays, Versailles is mainly a tourist attraction, which draws 8.1 million visitors per year (figure 2018, Versailles Annual Activity Report). However, it was built in the second half of the 17th century to serve as the centre of the French monarchy and exemplifies a symbolic vision of the ideal monarchy, according to Louis XIV. The Hall of Mirrors is the focal point of the political representation displaying the French wealth and power of the Grand Siècle. The Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678) is the main subject of the historical decoration, painted by Charles Le Brun. The Dutch Republic is an essential part of the political theory depicted here, and serves as a counter-example to the idealised absolute monarchy embodied by the Sun King himself. Hence, the small Dutch Republic, then in its heyday, is a crucial partner to France in this elegant albeit conflictual pas de deux. The manner of portraying the Republic is significant for the understanding of the royal credo of Louis’s France, and emphasises the essential role of the Dutch Republic in 17th-century Europe.
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