Comparingand Contrasting "Versailles" and "The Forbidden City"
Sincethe ancient times, aesthetics have been considered highly by theleaders, kings, and the wealthy. The architectural structure plays asignificant part in the styles and techniques employed to suit thedesire of the people and also for self-critique and praise of theartist or designer. The major works created since time immemorialrepresent an ideology that has been translated to a physicalmanifestation. One of the greatest works of the French Architectureis the Palace of Versailles. Originally a country house, thetransformation into a palace saw the rise of art and design thatbecame the home to King Louis XIV. The artwork involved brought out aunique structure famously known for its beautiful gardens, stylishconstruction, and the famous fountains. The Hidden City also standsout as world’s largest Palace complex with very many buildings.This City is located in the middle of Beijing and is typically madeup of Chinese architecture, renowned for hosting 24 emperors of theMing and Qing Dynasties [ CITATION Kel15 l 1033 ].These two works of architecture will be discussed in this paper.
Popularlyknown as Chateau De Versailles, the magnificent work was notperformed by one person. However, the first part was designed andsupervised by Louis De Vau, but the completion was overseen by hisassistant Francois d’Orbay. Other artists involved include CharlesLe Brun, André Le Nôtre and Le Nôtre, who worked on the interiordesigns and decoration, and landscaping of the gardens as well assupervising the designs and installation of numerous statues. Thisstructure employed the Baroque style which incorporates the use ofartfully arranged gardens that complement the structure of the mainbuilding. The key principle behind this technique is to create alasting impression to beholders through its sheer size and ornamentaldécor [ CITATION Eli13 l 1033 ].The beautification and embellishment incorporated can almost beregarded as extreme by the massive use of gold and the immenseornamentation.
TheForbidden City, on a differing note, was built earlier, and it wasdesigned and overseen by Nguyen An, together with other artists andspecialists serving the Chinese emperors. Contrary to the Versaillesstyle that is comprised of gardens and fountains, the City wasarranged into three nested cities surrounded by a wall. These citiesencompassed the interior compound which had restricted access hencethe name “Hidden City”. The theme of the architecture is basedupon the sheer size of the buildings. Also, the style accentuated asubject of absolute sanctity by employing art that was simple, humbleand conservative yet elaborately decorated [ CITATION Eli13 l 1033 ].Furthermore, the philosophy of seeking harmony with nature was alsoinvolved in harmonizing the buildings with the natural facets[ CITATION Chi16 l 1033 ].
Builtin a time when Monarchy reigned supreme, the Palace of Versailles isindeed a spectacle that depicts cultural, political and religiousaspects in its time [ CITATION And04 l 1033 ].The choice of Baroque architecture clearly indicates the sovereigntyand proclaims the immense power of wealth held by the King. In thosetimes, the Monarchs held the belief that Monarchy was an honorbestowed upon them by God Himself. The gold-adorned and the luxuriousamplitude demonstrates thepolitical culture of the King’s desire to be accepted and highlyrespected above all else, depicting the immense authority a Leaderhad over the citizens [ CITATION Eli13 l 1033 ].
Althoughthe supremacy and religion seem to be a similar facet observed inthese two works, the contrast is visibly highlighted on thetraditional establishment of the Forbidden City. In this case, thecreation of the Royal Court within the City had a more spiritualsignificance that depicted the straightforward and humble traits thatthe Emperor possessed or was supposed to have. Also, the decorativework by the architects was not so much as to highly exalt the RoyalSupremacy and Importance but was seen as a supplicatory offering tothe Emperor from the artists and designers. On top of that, theaspect that the emperor’s residence was placed in a hidden manner,portrays an enhanced political and cultural mystique and glory [ CITATION Eli13 l 1033 ].
Conclusionand Thematic Connection
Whileboth the Forbidden City and the Versailles were constructed with thegeneral intention of elaborating the success of the leadership, themajor similarity is the style and theme of Divine rule as the mainguidelines in the work of designing and construction. However, thehonor and respect accorded to King Louis XIV was self-projected andwas elaborated by the extravagance and grandeur in his Palace [ CITATION Owe13 l 1033 ].On the contrary, the Forbidden City was built as a celebration of thesuccess experienced in the reclamation of the Capital thus the modestbut exquisite work. Ultimately the works depict two systems of rule.One which is based on the extreme power to the King as seen in theVersailles and the symbolic references of himself as “The Sun King”placed all over the palace is a significant sign of self-exaltationand an attempt to arouse fear and subjugation from the subjects. Onthe opposing end, the Forbidden City portrays an appraisal that paystribute to the excellent governance while simultaneously preservingthe virtues advocated for by the Buddhist religion and culture.
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