Ellington B.: A Research Trip to the Palace of Versailles


Update on my research project-- including photos from the Palace of Versailles!

HI! I am checking in from my research site of Paris, France. Since my last blog post on our forum, I have furthered my research by discovering a host of new source material comprised of additional texts, images and films to support my research topic. These include texts such as Man and the Sun by Jacquetta Hawkes, The Drama of Celebrity by Sharon Marcus, images taken during my research visit to the Palace of Versailles and sourced from A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715 by the Getty Institute and the film Le Roi Danse

At this point in my research, I am recognizing that my area of exploration focuses on historical sun kings (such as Louis XIV, Akhenaton, the Saps Incas, etc.) and comparing/contrasting them and their presence in society with the stars, as celebrities, of today– through the work of star studies. By doing the comparative work between the two most distinctive groups of individuals who invoke the cosmos in their daily lives, I plan to illuminate how we, as humans, have traditionally used cosmic archetypes– symbolic representations of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc as drivers, patterns and forces within our collective consciousness– to identify and explain human behavior. This summer, I am isolating Louis XIV, the Sun King of France, as one of the most recent historical examples of a sun king, and I plan to examine him through the lens of a star in contemporary society. For this reason, I traveled to the Palace of Versailles and examined certain cosmic motifs that the Sun King used throughout the design of his home. Here are some photos from my research trip!

Louis XIV embossed his image on that of the Sun, to create an iconic “star image” of himself as the Sun King– an early example of branding that many stars are known for today.
To contrast the brilliance of his solar kingdom, the Sun King included an entire room in the Palace of Versailles dedicated to the goddess of the Moon, Selene. These mythological references spoke to the intelligentsia of the noble community who would have been well read in the classics to comprehend the cosmic references placed throughout the Palace of Versailles.