Le labyrinthe de Versailles. Du mythe au jeu

Work published with the scientific and financial support of the CRCV.

Le labyrinthe de Versailles. Du mythe au jeu, team project directed by Élisabeth Maisonnier and Alexandre Maral, exhibition catalogue at the Bibliothèque municipale de Versailles (14 September - 14 December 2013), joint publication Ville de Versailles / Éditions Magellan et Cie, October 2013, 21 x 26 cm, 232 p., ill., €28 (ISBN: 978-2-35074-263-2).


The vast Labyrinth Grove of Versailles, which adorned the park commissioned by Louis XIV, only lasted a little over one hundred years but aroused as much passion during its creation as curiosity since its disappearance. This unique creation by André Le Nôtre, (2013 marks the four hundredth anniversary of his death) reveals a little known aspect of the work of this celebrated gardener, who created the “French Garden” with its irregular outline and asymmetric avenues. Charles Perrault, a member of the Académie française and author of the famous Fairy Tales, inspired the Labyrinth of Versailles. This was a masterpiece in terms of garden design, sculpture and engraving; a recreational, moral, romantic walk filled with “happy surprises”, led the wealthy visitor to a collection of animals cast in lead, thirty-nine fountains made up of an exceptional collection of highly-coloured animal sculptures illustrating Aesop’s fables.
La Bibliothèque municipale de Versailles, where visitors love to lose themselves in the avenues of learning, is the ideal venue for an exhibition on the theme of the Labyrinth, and more specifically the Labyrinth of Versailles. Its many sources of inspiration, its unique place in the history of gardens and its influence, make it much more than a simple grove, almost a legend. The variations on the theme of the labyrinth thus take visitor and reader on a tour through all forms of art, from the origins of human thought to the 21st century, from gardens to video games, from spirituality to literature, from myth to game.

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