Trône livré pour l’Ambassade de Prusse à Paris. Maison Fourdinois (de 1835 à 1887). Estampille « Jacob ». Bois doré. H. : 132,3 cm ; L. : 77,5 cm ; P. : 69,5 cm. Versailles, Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. © Château de Versailles, Jean-Marc Manaï.

From the 1st of March to the 19th of June 2011 – States Apartments – Chateau de Versailles

The exercise of sovereignty associates two universal and timeless notions: authority and power. Authority establishes its possessor on bases regarded as more stable than those offered by power, always ephemeral in the medium or long term. Thus, in symbolic terms, images of the representative of authority are depicted preferably in a seated position, while the powerful are shown standing up to show their superiority. Two types of attributes express the specificity of each of these two notions: the throne for authority, and the crown and the other attributes of domination for the victor. But, gradually, the symbolism of the throne has ended by fading away and disappearing from our horizons and seems today to be totally excluded from contemporary mentalities

In the cultural field, no exhibition to this day has been truly devoted to authority and its symbol, as if the throne had been banished from the cultural scene and our consciousness. In the political context, this evolution has led today to most heads of state expressing themselves in a standing position.

Trône de l’empereur Qianlong (1711-1799), empereur (1736-1795), avec son marchepied. Entre 1735 et 1796. Bois de santal rouge et laqué. H. : 104 cm ; L. : 130 cm ; l. : 90 cm. Pékin, Collection du musée du Palais. © Cité Interdite.

y overcoming the inveterate and obsessive suspicion of modern societies regarding the royal seat and its numerous variations, the exhibition Thrones in Majesty, for the first time, presents a series of thrones, permanent or mobile, profane or sacred, from four continents and from all periods of history. Their different shapes and styles express a universal language common to each of the civilisations evoked. Around forty to fifty thrones from all the civilisations are exhibited in the Sate Apartments of the King and Queen, some of them accompanied by their accessories and other iconographic elements to enable visitors to better understand the universality of the seated representation of authority, whether political or religious. Emblematic seats of power such as the throne of king Dagobert and the Portantina of Pope Leo XIII recall the real fascination that the throne has evoked through the ages and up to our own day.

Palais Hours