The representation of history in the collections of the Museum of the Palace of Versailles

Duration: 2017-2019

The line of research on the representation of history in the collections of the Museum of the Palace of Versailles is linked to the prospect of redeployment historical galleries of Versailles. This study must precede the architectural and museographic refurbishment of the North Wing and Midi Wing. The handover of the spaces occupied by Parliament within the palace (25,000 m2) will extend the magnitude of this project.

Planned in 1833 and inaugurated in 1837, the History Galleries at Versailles began to be dismantled in 1892, when Pierre de Nolhac was appointed curator of the Museum of the Palace of Versailles.
The collections in the History Galleries currently comprise approximately 7,000 paintings (5,000 portraits, 2,000 historical scenes) and 1,500 sculptures (mainly portraits).

The study of the representation of history in the Versailles collections will take several approaches:

  • The establishment of the historic galleries under Louis-Philippe: genesis and museography;
  • Political and administrative history of the institution, from the July Monarchy to the Third Republic;
  • Studies of works and artists: iconographic, aesthetic, social and cultural approach;
  • Reception of the History Galleries, in France and abroad;
  • The museum of Versailles, actor in and witness to French historiography.

The research programme, involving young researchers, experienced researchers and curators, to establish a report on current knowledge and undertake new studies on specific themes. Research results shall be disseminated on an annual basis: study days, conferences, scientific publications. In the long term, the results could contribute to the works of the museum conservation team in developing a museographic programme.

Research can be undertaken as part of a Masters II, as a thesis for the École des chartes or as a doctoral thesis. Students will be able to meet the Versailles conservators and have access to the artworks and documentary resources.
The Centre de recherche du château de Versailles will award one or several study grants, worth up to 7,500 euros, and will remunerate some sessions.

Steering Committee

Representatives of the founder members of the G.I.P. CRCV and experts: Laurent Avezou, Professor of history at the Lycée Pierre-de-Fermat in Toulouse (preparatory class for the École des chartes); Arnaud Bertinet, Lecturer at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Philippe Boutry, Président of the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Mathieu Deldicque, Curator at the musée Condé, domaine de Chantilly; Grégoire Franconie, Doctor of history, Associate Researcher at the Centre d’histoire du XIXe siècle, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Getty Research Institute; Chantal Grell, Professor at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines; Barthélemy Jobert, Professor at the Sorbonne Université; Jean-Marie Le Gall, Professor at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne; Jean-Michel Leniaud, Professor at the École nationale des chartes; Gérard Sabatier, Professor Emeritus of Universities, President of the Scientific Committee of the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles; Laurent Salomé, director of the musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon.

Conservateurs au château de Versailles: Lionel Arsac, Curator at the Department of Sculptures; Gwenola Firmin, Curator at the Paint department; Frédéric Lacaille, Chief Heritage curator at the Paint department; Béatrice Sarrazin, General curator for Heritage, responsible for the Paint department.

Centre de recherche du château de Versailles: Alexandre Maral, Director; Mathieu da Vinha, Scientific Director; Matilde-Maria Cassandro-Malphettes, Secretary General; Laurent Cazes, Researcher.

Productions planned

  • Study day “Les galeries historiques de Versailles au XIXe siècle : origine, organisation, réception” (9 October, château de Versailles);

Call for papers

Consult our call for papers related to this area of research on the Bulletin du Centre de recherche.

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