The Palace of Versailles in China: Exhibition at the Forbidden City in Beijing

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Initially planned for 2020, then postponed due to the health crisis, this very beautiful exhibition is to be held from April 1 to June 30, 2024, the year of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.

This exhibition, which will bring together works from the collections of the Palace of Versailles and the Imperial Palace Museum, will be an enriched version of the one already presented in 2014, in France. It aims in particular to illustrate the diplomatic policy initiated by Louis XIV towards his contemporary, the Kangxi Emperor, marked in particular by the sending to China, in 1685, of French Jesuit fathers who won the court of Beijing as the king’s mathematicians. The relationships of reciprocal trust and esteem, often overlooked, forged on this occasion, lasted until the end of the 18th century, and contributed to the birth in France of modern sinology.

The exhibition will also show how Chinese art has inspired French artists and intellectuals, whether in the field of painting, art objects, interior decor, architecture, garden art , literature, music or science.

Kangxi, 61 years of reign

By publishing a literary portrait of the Emperor of China presented to Louis XIV in 1697, the Jesuit missionary Joachim Bouvet (1656-1730) popularized the person of Kangxi throughout Europe. The work was republished in Paris three years in a row, translated into Latin by Leibniz, into English, into Dutch, into Italian. Kangxi was then forty-four years old and had reigned for thirty-six years.