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Les Champenois à Versailles : artistes, littéraires et musiciens champenois à la cour sous Louis XIV, Louis XV et Louis XVI

Colloque, Troyes et Saint-Julien-les-Villas, 16, 17 et 18 octobre 2014
Natives of Champagne at Versailles: artists, writers and musicians from Champagne at Court under Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Symposium, Troyes and Saint-Julien-les-Villas, 16, 17 and 18 October 2014
Les Champenois à Versailles
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Credits : © Benoît Roux / université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne / 2014

Under the Ancien Régime, Champagne, with its northern and southern parts, was situated between Île-de-France and Lorraine, thus the border region. Maintaining a strong economic and strategic importance, this region was structurally linked to the seat of power, Versailles, not least as France’s first point of contact with foreign rulers, German or transalpine, joining the court or to play a key role in Reims, the city of coronations. At what point did Champagne’s geopolitical proximity to the court help forge an identity for the region? This will be one of the questions this publication will examine.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many high-ranking figures from Champagne made an artistic career at the court of Versailles: one thinks first of course of François Girardon, Nicolas and Pierre Mignard, or Robert Nanteuil and Jean de La Fontaine. The question we are interested in is whether these figures created and maintained networks, attracting in their turn clients or protégés from the region to the court. Such analysis requires not only detailed knowledge of their lives, but also those of their entourage—often made up of little-known figures. We seek to highlight to what extent affiliation with Champagne played in the career of artists, men of letters or men of power.
The return to Champagne of these “exiles” from Versailles will open up a third investigative field. How did one maintain attachment to his region of origin? How were the relationships between those new to Versailles and their region structured, and how did they evolve? Girardon, for example, remained very attached to his home city of Troyes, donating several major works, while the brothers Nicolas and Pierre Mignard, also from Troyes, seemed to be less interested in the city.
A biographical approach has been chosen for the symposium “Natives of Champagne at Versailles”, allowing a better understanding of the extent of Champagne cronyism at the court of Versailles, as well as these networks’ contribution in constructing a cultural and political Champagne identity.

See the full conference programme.

Scientific committee : Jean-Luc Liez, Thomas Nicklas and Hendrik Ziegler.

Partners : Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne ; Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication ; Région Champagne-Ardenne ; Maison du patrimoine du Grand Troyes ; Centre de recherche du château de Versailles ; Centre d'étude et de recherche en histoire culturelle (CERHIC) ; Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les modèles esthétiques et littéraires (CRIMEL) ; Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les langues et la pensée (CIRLEP).

The twelve conference papers, edited by Hendrik Ziegler, are published here online (October 2015).

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