Les Belles-02 (2 of 4)

Piece description from the artist

The New Water Theatre Grove | Gardens of Versailles | Paris
Garden Architect & Landscape Designer: Louis Benech
Sculptor: Jean-Michel Othoniel

For the first time in over 300 years, a new fountain has sprung in the legendary gardens of Versailles.

Made from almost 2,000 glass beads, Les Belles Dances is a new permanent installation in the royal estate. It was designed to honor Louis XIV, better known as France’s powerful and meticulous ”Sun King.”

Following its heyday as the André Le Nôtre–designed garden stage for Louis XIV’s concerts and ballets, Versailles’s once-extravagant Water Theatre grove lost its elaborate whimsy when Louis XVI tore much of it down and replaced it with the far more ordinary Round Green Grove in 1775. It fell further from its former glory after destructive storms in 1990, and further still in 1999, when it closed to the public entirely to make way for storage and parking.

The swirling composition of Othoniel's sculptural water spouts (made of 1,751 Murano glass beads hand blown in Basel, Switzerland with gold leaf applied to each glass bead by hand, the hand crafted process to glaze and seal each bead takes five days for each bead) echoes the calligraphy found in Choréographie, ou L'Art de Décrire la Danse, dance instructions written by Raoul-Auger Feuillet for Louis XIV in 1701. Benech’s entire composition, including the three circular pools, three alleys, and various breeds of trees, are based on the recurring threes of Le Nôtre’s original design, as is the height cap of 17 meters. Unlike Le Nôtre, however, Benech has no king in mind; his design is built for the public to enjoy permanently.

This series of 4 photographs plays well together, or each can be displayed separately.

Other works by Ashland Thomas

About Ashland Thomas

Chicago, IL

Ashland grew up in Southeast Virginia surrounded by lush rural landscapes, great protected swamp lands, national & state parks, the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, the breathtaking Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Mountains, and the inlets & oceans of Virginia & North Carolina.

It was this constant variation in natural beauty that first drew his eye to the camera; that, and the constant joy of capturing life's candid moments on film. Although no particular subject is banned from the lens of Ashland's camera, it is landscapes, cityscapes, wildlife, and nature that truly captures his heart.

"There's always more to see, more to learn, more to be wowed about-I just hope you enjoy what I see in the world."

A constant staple on the likes of Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook, Ashland currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, and looks forward to many more years of development, collaboration, creativity, world travel, and art.


See Ashland's portfolio here

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