The architect in charge of Versailles represents himself as a Roman emperor

Recent reconstitution (2007) of a trophy overlooking
the South wing, with the profile of the architect Frédéric Didier

12/10/08 — Heritage — Versailles, Château — The French association for heritage protection, Momus (Monuments, Musées, Sites et Monuments), makes a very revealing disclosure on its new website concerning Frédéric Didier, chief architect for Monuments Historiques in charge of the château at Versailles, a very controversial figure for some of his debatable reconstitutions. He had no qualms in having himself represented as a Roman emperor under the inscription SPQR (ill.), on one of the trophies which were replaced over the attic on the South wing.
There is nothing funny about this attempt at humour which comes across rather as an improper show of megalomania from someone who claims left and right that his restitutions are “identical”. One can search high and low at Versailles in the sculpted décor without ever finding the likeness of Louis Le Vau, François d’Orbay, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Ange-Jacques Gabriel or Pierre-Fançois-Léonard Fontaine, all of them of course much less important architects than the one responsible for the newly reconstructed “Grille Royale”.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 12 octobre 2008

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