The animals of French royalty return to the Palace of Versailles

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Versailles, France, October 16 (EFE) .- Ostriches, chameleons and elephants returned this week to the Palace of Versailles as part of an exhibition that shows for the first time the variety of species that have rubbed shoulders with the kings of France on this sprawling former royal estate.

“The Palace of Versailles was populated by animals. They were everywhere, ”Alexandre Maral, curator and curator of“ The animals of the king ”, made up of more than 300 works from French and international museums, told EFE.

Besides more exotic species, many pets lived at the palace along with members of the royal family and courtiers, such as dogs, cats, parrots and monkeys.

“Therefore, you can say that it was a place where animals lived like kings,” said Maral.

The more than 2,000 horses that lived in Versailles and were depicted in the 17th century by great artists such as Belgian artist Adam François Van der Meulen, were used for hunting, warfare and for pulling court cars , but also to represent the power of the king.

The animals were charged with a political symbolism under the Ancien Régime, as evidenced by the decoration of the palace and gardens, where the fauna symbolizes the greatness of France over other nations.

The paintings in the exhibition show the abundance of monkeys in Versailles, although most of the time they remained confined to apartments and absent from the public sphere, as they were seen as toys for children and women.

Birds were a frequent feature of royal portraits and became the hallmark of Louis XIV’s animal collection, as they helped to project a pacifist image in the relations of the so-called “Sun King”.

“Animals had a political function in Versailles, since it was a place of power, so everything had a political symbolism,” said Maral. EFE

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