By the late 18th century, Paris was acknowledged as the cultural capital of the world, and royalty and the aristocracy developed an unprecedented taste for luxury and comfort.
The story of Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette describes the era when the power and prestige of France’s monarchs was directed toward the creation of the finest and most elaborate examples of the decorative arts. These objects reflected the monarchs’ personal tastes, but they also represented France at an aesthetic zenith, which the rest of the world would emulate. Today, one has to travel to France to see such extravagant objects. For a short time, however, visitors to San Francisco wil have the opportunity to gaze upon a royal collection on loan from the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
The Gemmes da la Couronne — Louis XIV’s personal collection of hard-stone vases mounted in gold and gemstones — is one of the most significant loans in this exhibition. Made of rare hard-stone — amethyst, agate, amber, jade, and rock crystal — and representing the highest technical achievement, many of these objects were displayed in rooms specifically designed to receive them in the royal apartments at Versailles.
Produced by hundreds of artisans, some celebrated in their lifetimes, the objects on view also include mosaic tabletops of semiprecious stones, sumptuous wool and silk tapestries, carpets, silver furniture, and other luxury goods.
Legion of Honor Web Site