Versailles Palace from a decorative painter’s eye


We recently took group of 17 students to tour of Palace of Versailles.  The students were painting a panel for 8 days in a studio near by.  Check out the class photos.

As a child growing up in Paris, it was mandatory for students to visit the Palace once a year.  It’s fair to assume that I was a bit less excited about the tour as I am today.  It wasn’t until I became a decorative painter, that I began to pay close attention and fell in love with the rooms.

Sure, the Palace has massive historical relevance and the paintings are quite a collection, but the multiple facets of decorative painting and natural finishes are vast and varied.

The biggest gem, for me, is the fantastic examples of real marble.  It is an excellent resource for reference material for your faux marble.  The Palace also offers stunning examples of:  faux marble, woodgrain, trompe l’oeil, painted and 3-D ornaments, gilding and polychrome, grisaille, and historical patina rooms.
At the time of the class tour, we were just about to begin the faux marble segment of the class.  Jean Sablé and myself were able to point out real marble for inspiration.  You cannot create a realistic rendering of marble unless you study the composition, fractures, fissures, veining, colors, etc of real marble.  We were especially interested in the French marble, Sarrancollin (lovingly pronounced by our students as “Sara Collin”).  Louis IV called this marble “the King of marble and the marble of Kings.”

Here are a few pictures:

Stay tuned for future posts with more detailed images from the palace.

French patina period room




Faux marble and trompe l’oeil


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  1. Tom Cochran says:

    Hello Pierre, Your photos are beautiful. I was there a couple of years ago and was so almost overcome with the amount of incredible artwork, ceilings and mantles and furniture. This is a place where the most remarkable becomes common-place. It requires many hours in each room to make sense of it all. Thanks! Tom Cochran

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