The Versailles Exhibition in Canberra


I went to watch Versailles Treasures from the Palace at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra today. My visit here today was part of an agreed meet up with some friends, and as often is the case with me, when I go to an event like this I’m never too sure about what I should expect. And so…

When I arrived at the gallery I was greeted at the parking gate with a ‘Full’ sign. I was not impressed Nelly, I thought! Then again, I wasn’t overly surprised neither. I had people waiting in line behind me, and I had to signal them to reverse back so I could get out. Luckily, reversing back out wasn’t such a drama and everyone was complaint and made room for me to get out, even though I’ve no doubt that they weren’t overly amused about it. I had the option of waiting it out at the gate though, I could’ve waited until a car exited the car park and then I’d be let in. I couldn’t be bothered waiting around for the gate to open, even though it might’ve been best had I stayed and waited a minute or two, but little Ms Impatient that I can be I just wanted to be on time to meet up with my group of friends. After I reversed out I went for a drive around the block and back; like I mentioned earlier, I should’ve been patiently waiting at the gate, and then I went and parked behind the John Gorton Building. Plenty spots there! Damn it. Paid parking. Arrghh. It’s like a sword poking my side, I’m telling you. Having access to free parking is a major thing for me! A thing of the past I know, but seriously, it’s ouch costly.

I walked into the gallery and waited for my friends at the top of the elevators. Hmm. Where are they? I was perfectly on time. I waited and waited (this seemed like forever) and then I spotted one of them, and then another and another, and before I knew it we were all together. Yeah!

Inside the Versailles exhibition I was greeted by (1) paintings, intricate tapestries, gilded furniture items, monumental statues and other objects from the royal gardens, and personal items from Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette.

It was splendid.

What can I say? I’m not a fan of crowds, they annoy me at the best of times and because of this I didn’t allow myself the time to relish in each and every item as I would otherwise, because it was hard reading some of the notes and hard to get too close to see the fine details of some of the items. Crowds of people have a way of blocking my view. It’s very annoying. So I walked through the exhibition admiring as many of the items on display as I could, and then I found myself with one of my friends close by and where were the others, where did they go? They were behind me somewhere.

At one point I took a photo of a painting with my iPhone and the flash went off alarming one of the gallery guards to come running up to me and reprimanding me for having flashed the flash, stating that the ‘flash’ was not allowed.  Ooops.  I apologised.

As it turned out, the photo I took with the flash looks awful and grainy, the flash made it look horrible and green like. So I went into the settings of my iPhone and removed the flash option and chanced another photo shoot without a flash and this time, it came out splendid.


I had a giggle though.  As I was being told off about my flash light going off, a woman close by approached me asking me if I could please help her change her settings and remove her flash from her phone.  I looked at her and at her phone and it wasn’t an iPhone.  What do I know about androids? Nothing.  (Cough, cough.  Not true, of course I can navigate through those things). So I apologised to her about not being able to help her.  I told her a white lie.  Of course I could help her, but chose not to.  I know.  Please don’t crucify me! I just didn’t want to be standing there in a semi dark room trying to figure out how to change her flash setting from her android, which would’ve taken up my time to enjoy the exhibition and taken up my time to get back to my car on time before I would get booked.  I was in a hurry (sorta).  She didn’t look impressed. Err excuse me! Did I have a sign over my head that said, ‘android technician here at your service’? No!

It wasn’t long thereafter that I walked out of there and my friend and I headed up to the cafe, a welcome reprieve let me tell you.  I sent a text message to one of the other friends and let them know I was inside the cafe with our friend.  They soon all made their way to us and we spent a lovely hour chatting until we got up and left for the day. (I know, I know! I said earlier that I was in a hurry when I chose not to help that helpless woman with her android… Priorities!) Now I feel bad.  Damn it.  I should’ve helped her. Grr. I’m so sorry lady! Drops my head down in shame.

Overall what did I think of the Versailles exhibition?

I thought it was spectacular.  It is definitely worth a visit if you can make it. I loved the grandeur of the paintings and the sculptures, the fine detail in the drawings and the intricate tapestries filled with lots of colours and the fine details which for me seemed it would take an eternity to create.  The gilded furniture items such as the Hunting table with a map of Compiègne 1737 is very reminiscent of a time long past and very regal nevertheless, and the monumental statues such as the Bust of Louis XIV 1665–66 depicted the face of a king responsible for the largest palace ever built.

Simply beautiful.

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