Troisième Journée: Théâtre dressé. [Third Day: The Theater Prepared], plate 8 from Les plaisirs de l’Isle Enchantée, ou les festes et divertissements du Roy à Versailles [The Pleasures of the Enchanted Isle, or the Celebrations and Entertainments of the K
42.6 cm x 54.6 cm (16 3/4 in. x 21 1/2 in.)
(Nancy, France, 1621 - 1691, Paris)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
The entertainment of the king and his courtiers was an integral part of life at Versailles and the gardens were planned accordingly. They provided ample space and a glorious backdrop for royal celebrations such as fêtes, grand events that usually lasted several days.
Some of the most elaborate installations at Versailles were temporary, built for special events such as the 1664 fête “Les plaisirs de l’île enchantée” or “The pleasures of the enchanted isle.” This fête was documented in a series of commemorative prints. This example shows one of the elaborate temporary stage sets commissioned by the king. It was used for a ballet performance and was erected in a large basin known as the Estang. Only the best and most ingenious design was tolerated for such a royal event and clever devices such as the three sea monsters floating in the basin were among the attractions.