Saturday, 27 August 2011

Palace of Versailles - The Fountains

Lillian :  On our second day in the gardens of the Palace or Chateau de Versailles we tried to visit all the fountains ... The official web site for the Chateau lists the Dragon Fountain first - so we will too. 

Audrey :  He is quite a dwagon!
Lillian :  This fountain depicts a story about Apollo,  which doesn't quite explain the 'dolphins'
or the babies riding on swans while shooting arrows at each other. 
Audrey :   It is all quite beautiful, all the texture in the scales, the feathers, the dwagon's hair and all those twisting, sinuous tails and necks.  Quite lovely!
Lillian :  I agree, the Dragon Fountain is wonderful.  There are so many beautiful things at the Chateau de Versailles - even the smaller fountains are lovely, but easily overlooked when there is just so much to see.  Behind the swans in the picture above, there is a little cupid fountain, indeed there is quite a collection of these.  

Audrey :  Babies with a puppy ...
  Audrey :  Babies making music
Audrey :  Babies dancing.  Someone should put a nappy on that baby before there is a nasty accident.

Lillian :  On the other side of the Dragon Fountain is the immense Neptune Fountain.  
Audrey : It was Huge - you have to zoom in with a camera to see the main statuary!
  Lillian :  The 3 main groups along the back date from 1740.  To the left is an elegant gentleman hugging a big fish ... Neptune and Amphitrite are in the middle ...

Audrey :  Notice the funny finned feet on the horsey - just like the mer-horses we saw in the Grote Markt in Brussels. 
Lillian :  Yes, they were on the building built by the boatmen's guild.  In this photo you can see just how close the Neptune fountain is to the Dragon ...

Audrey : Neptune and Amphitrite have their own dwagon.

Lillian :  To the right there is another elegantly reclining gentleman - he is Proteus, the old man of the sea.
Audrey :  He has a pet unicorn-fish and a paddle.  
Lillian : Also sharing his rock shelf are a snake and a seal.  Proteus was a 'shape-changer' (hence the adjective  protean) and he could change into a snake or serpent ... the seal is there because Proteus looked after Poseidon's seals.
Audrey : Well, there were no seals in the water but there were fish - the water was a bit murky but you could see them, especially the ones with stripes.

Lillian : Around that huge pool was more statuary -
Audrey :  Winged babies with mer-dwagons - giddy-up!

Lillian :  One at each side of the pool;  really quite lovely they are signed Bouchardon 1739.
Audrey :  And along the top there are lots of lovely urns - some have shells underneath, some don't but they all have wonderful handles.

Audrey :  That last one is making me feel quite hungry ... a lobster salad would be nice for lunch.

Lillian :  There were more lobsters on the Pyramid Fountain ... which is quite close to the main palace buildings.







Audrey : The crustaceans were up the top and round the bottom were mer-men with 2 tails.

Lillian :  Yes, bifurcated mer-people tails are quite nice - I think it makes the mer-people look more human and less helpless.  It gives the sculptor more opportunity to play with sinuousness and fabulous fins & tails.

Audrey :  Having 2 tails also means that sometimes the mer-people have nice bottoms.

Lillian :  Here are more bifurcated mer-people - maids &men in a pond and I'm not sure which fountain this one is - there are so many - but it was close to the Pyramid Fountain and the big Water Parterres ...
Audrey :  I think we need to have lunch now and we'll show the people the rest of the fountains in our next post.
Lillian :  OK Audrey - we'll leave with another photo of the lovely putti & mer-dragon statues.

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