A little background: I have been fortunate enough to acquire a copy of the shooting script for the incomparable MGM Marie Antoinette film.
The primary reason I made the purchase was to gain access to some of
the cut and altered scenes which, though present when the film was shot,
were ultimately removed from the final film.
This next scene that did not make the final cut of the film took place in between a shorter cut scene with Louis-Auguste and Gamin, the locksmith (I'm saving the "Gamin" scenes for their own post) and the morning scene with Madame du Barry, Louis XV, and his courtiers. It is a prelude to a later scene, where the duc d'Orleans visits Antoinette and tempts her to flaunt Du Barry and join court life.
Before this excerpt, the script sets the stage: Antoinette and Lamballe are pacing one of Marie Antoinette's apartments, where a chess game has been set up. Antoinette is facing the window, silent, while Lamballe sits by the game.
Your play --
Marie Antoinette does not answer and Lamballe rises anxiously.
CLOSE SHOT - MARIE ANTOINETTE AT WINDOW
She stands, trying to hide her face. Lamballe comes into scene.
(turns around, brokenly but furiously)
It's - it's just temper!
(she wipes her eyes savagely, sniffles)
I'm so bored I could scream!
And scream she does, shrilly, while Lamballe puts her hands over her ears.
(in a hysterical outburst)
Cooped up in here - day after day - going to prayers - reading dull books - dressing up for people who daren't come - because they're afraid of Du Barry--the mean spirited cowards!
And so's your husband! He might have come -- on your anniversary! You hoped he would -- you spend hours dressing!
Why must you always remind me that my husband neglects me? I suppose you go around telling other people -- as though they didn't know! As though that woman--!
(in a wail of anguish)
'Toinette! How can you say such things -- how can you--
She drops to the floor by the window seat and bursts into tears. Marie Antoinette is instantly remorseful, drops down by her friend.
Oh, I'm sorry -- I'm a beast today -- I didn't mean it -- don't cry, please, Therese, please!
The scene continues with a few more moments of cut material, when Lamballe and Antoinette spot the duc d'Orleans in the courtyard--they believe for a moment that he may visit them, but he turns away and Marie Antoinette remarks that he is going to visit "that woman." The scene then fades into the scene, which made it to the final film, with Madame du Barry deriding the courtiers (and then, finally, Orleans) for their duplicity.
In the final cut of the film, our first impression of Antoinette's life in Versailles after her wedding night is the scene which follows Du Barry's denouement in the script: Orleans visits Antoinette and Lamballe and tempts her into "becoming alive" at court. She doesn't agree, at first, but after Du Barry's cruel gift of an empty cradle and her husband's inability to stand up to the king's mistress, she decides she "means to be the dauphine of France," even if that requires following the lead of Orleans.
The removal of this scene doesn't necessarily have a significant impact on the film, but I think it does give the viewer a better and truly stronger sense of how truly desperate and lonely Antoinette is at this point. In turn, this makes her decision to abandon her husband's quiet life at court for the glittering role offered by Orleans less unexpected. It's not that she's just bored--she's feeling trapped, isolated and desperate to the point of hysterics.
Like most of the earlier cuts in the film, I suspect it was cut for time more than anything else. Again, it doesn't really negatively impact the story--I feel like it's clear in the final film that the reason for teaming up with Orleans is her boredom and her treatment as a result of Du Barry, but it does make her motivation and drive behind her transformation more sympathetic and, in the end, understandable.
For the past several years, it has become status quo for the Chateau de Versailles to host contemporary art exhibitions which highlight the work of a particular artist through installations in the palace and its gardens. These exhibitions, however, have always been a "modern guest" in the otherwise historical palace. Now, however, the Chateau de Versailles has completed its first permanent installation of contemporary artwork: The Gabriel Chandelier.
The piece was designed Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec and has been installed above the Gabriel Staircase, which is located at the entrance of the Grand Apartments. The Gabriel Staircase itself is something of a "modern" 18th century staircase--although it was designed in 1772, the staircase was never actually completed, and it was not until the 1980s that the staircase was finally finished. In 2011, a competition called for contemporary artists to design a lighting fixture for the area, and it was the design of Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec that was chosen.
Swarovski, who has their own history with the Chateau de Versailles, was the company chosen to actually realize the piece. Swarovski has had a hand in restoring several chandeliers throughout the palace, including those in the Grand Apartments of the king and queen, by using a unique LED crystal that mimics the appearance of candlelight without the need for actual candles. This latest work, regardless of any personal feelings on the decision to install modern art at the chateau, is admittedly impressive. The chandelier was created using around 800 crystals, weighs almost half a ton, and is about 40 feet high.
"We had to produce a piece which possessed character but which, unlike several contemporary art initiatives at Versailles in the past, was not a temporary installation, nor a work of art, nor an exhibition. The design brief was to create a chandelier to light the Gabriel Staircase. [...]
Then we thought that in the final analysis it was not perhaps necessary to give a delineated form to this piece of lighting but rather to try to arrange it so that the form naturally found its line from gravity. In this way we developed the idea of twists of crystal suspended from four points on the ceiling and tracing loops which subdivide into organic trees. In the end its shape arrived almost naturally."
The permanent installation of modern artwork in the historical palace is likely to generate at least some controversy. On the one hand, the chandelier is certainly visually striking--and it is, at least, not made from balloons or shoes, but material that mimics the palace's historical chandeliers. On the other hand, this new installation may open the door for more contemporary art to find a permanent home in the palace. How will that affect the future of the palace, where the pressure to preserve the past may often clash with the pressure to move with the future?
How do you feel about the installation of the Gabriel Chandelier?
Gisela Röder is a German-born artist who, in addition to providing the artwork for several German children's books, illustrated a series of "History of Fashion" postcards that were likely released in the 1960s or 1970s.
I have, so far, managed to collect the postcards from the late 17th century - 19th century Restoration-era. I absolutely love the retro feel of these illustrations and I hope I can finish my collection of them soon.
I've arranged them more or less in chronological order - enjoy!
Marie Antoinette's Versailles by Cécile Berly, published in the spring of 2013, is a partial biography told through a focus on Marie Antoinette's own "Versailles," including her rooms at the palace and her private realm at the Trianon.
The three primary sections of the book are "A Dauphin at Versailles," "The Queen in her Palace," and "The Domain of Marie-Antoinette." Each section gives some brief details about Marie Antoinette's life while discussing the various rooms, palaces and gardens inhabited by the queen.
The information in the book is relatively standard, and there wasn't anything that stood out as new or revelatory. However, the photographs and artwork reproductions in the book are numerous, colorful and high quality. A number of the photographs are taken from unique angles that visitors to the grounds will not always get to see, which is a plus. It's also nice to see a book dedicated to Marie Antoinette's 'world' within Versailles, especially the Petit Trianon, which is too often tacked on to the end of Versailles books like an afterthought.
Overall, it's a lovely little book--nothing groundbreaking but I'm glad it has a spot on my shelf. I feel like it would make a great gift for someone who wants a book that focuses on Marie Antoinette and Versailles, or for someone who will be visiting the palace and wants to learn more about Marie Antoinette before they go.