Saturday, November 13, 2010

Science at Versailles

A new exhibit.
The Château de Versailles offered many research resources. Anatomists and zoologists could study the menagerie's ostriches, pelicans, rhinoceroses and other rare animals, botanists and agronomists the plants on the grounds of the Trianon and "hippiatrists", the forerunners to veterinarians, the horses in the Grand Stables.

Educators developed new teaching methods using cutting-edge tools for the royal children and the kings' personal practice. While Louis XIV considered himself a protector of the arts and sciences without practicing them, his successors, Louis XV and Louis XVI, became true connoisseurs. A presentation to the king or demonstration before the Court was the highest honour, equivalent to winning a Nobel Prize. Many people know about the first hot-air balloon flight, but numerous other events have fallen into oblivion, such as the burning mirror demonstration in front of Louis XIV or the electricity experiment in the Hall of Mirrors under his successor's reign.

The mosaic of places, people and events that Science and Curiosities at the Court of Versailles presents must be perceived not as a conclusion but as a stepping-stone to further research.

1 comment:

Julygirl said...

One of the reasons French scientists were so far ahead of their European contemporaries.