I recently read a book about Marie Antoinette and her life journey from Archduchess of Austria to the universal symbol of the ancien régime as the Queen of France. At first I was afraid it was going to be another dry biography but it was an absolutely fascinating story about a Queen so misunderstood throughout history. The author and avid historian, Antonia Fraser, seamlessly blends historical research with a captivating narrative. I have always be fascinated by the rise (& demise) of Marie Antoinette but never has seen been more real to me than after reading this book.
While reading this book about Marie Antoinette’s story, it also brought to life a work of architecture from the AP Art History Curriculum: #93 The Palace of Versailles. The palace was the Baroque home of the kings of France (most notably Louis XIV) and Marie Antoinette and her family were the last royal occupants here. I feel that I can now teach this image better to my Art History class because I now understand the theatrical and traitorous life of some of its inhabitants. (Oh and because I cannot resist, The Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO Site!)
All in all, I highly recommend this book; not just for teachers and history buffs, but for anyone who wants to understand this woman who has become the poster-child for the squander of the ancien régime.
Other related things:
- I found this cool blog that reviews books, On My Honor,and here is their review of the book Marie Antoinette: The Journey.
- If you haven’t seen this delicious rendition of Marie Antoinette’s life by director Sofia Coppola, I highly recommend it, if only for the clothes and shoes alone!
- Look at this adorable Marie Antoinette-themed image by Rifle Paper Co.
What book should I try next?