By Charles “Chuck” Parham, M.F.A Painting Student, SCAD Atlanta
On Saturday, November 3, 2012, I visited the palace of Versailles along with my fellow graduate student, Kimberly Bates. Versailles is a mega palace located in the suburbs of Paris. When we approached the palace for the first time, it was explosive!!! From all of my years of studying about the Versailles palace in art history, being in front of it was an experience. When I entered through the gates in the front of the palace, I became a sponge, absorbing what I could. On the exterior, the size of the palace is an astounding 520,000 to 550,000 square feet and with the garden included it is 87,728,720 square feet!!! The garden is a small city in itself.
Inside the palace are 50 to 70 foot high ceilings with extra large windows chandeliers, life size sculptures and over life size paintings that covered the walls. The crown molding surrounding the ceiling takes on a sculptural effect. They are three quarter sculptures of religious themes covered with gold plating. The ceilings also have hand painted nativity scenes similar to Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel. As a painter who paints large scale, I can definitely see my works exhibited in the palace due to its expansiveness.
Finally, the highlight of the palace was the garden. In my opinion, the size of the garden is equivalent to 20 to 30 football stadiums. The garden has bodies of water that are similar in size to lakes and ponds. Also, the garden has fountains that are bigger than cars, trucks and most people’s garages. Even the bushes were trimmed into unique designs.
I never knew I would live long enough to see the masterpieces that I studied about in art school. My stay in Paris was a dream come true.
All photos credited by Charles “Chuck” Parham