“The plans in regard to Versailles must be carefully considered. Those which M. Fontaine submits are very reasonable, the estimate being six millions; but this includes dwellings, with the restoration of the chapel and that of the theater, only sufficiently comfortable for present use, not such as they should be one day.
“By this plan, the Emperor
and Empress would have their apartments;
but we must remember that this sum should also furnish lodgings for
princes, grand and inferior officers.
“It is also necessary to know
where will be placed the factory of
arms, which will be needed at Versailles, since it puts silver in
“It will be necessary out
of these six millions to find six lodgings
for princes, twelve for grand officers, and fifty for inferior
“Then only can we decide to make Versailles our residence, and pass the summers there. Before adopting these plans, it will be necessary that the architect who engages to execute them should certify that they can be executed for the proposed sum.”
[Jacques Louis David, born in Paris,
1748, celebrated historical
painter, member of convention, 1792, and voted for the death of the
king. Died in Brussels, 1825.]
at his studio in the Sorbonne, in order to see the magnificent picture of the coronation, which had just been finished. Their Majesties’ suite was composed of Marshal Bessieres, an aide-de-camp of the Emperor, M. Lebrun, several ladies of the palace, and chamberlains. The Emperor and Empress contemplated with admiration for a long while this beautiful painting, which comprised every species of merit; and the painter was in his glory while hearing his Majesty name, one by one, all the different personages of the picture, for the resemblance was really miraculous. “How grand that is!” said the Emperor; “how fine! how the figures are brought out in relief! how truthful! This is not a painting; the figures live in this picture!” First directing his attention to the grand tribune in the midst, the Emperor, recognized Madame his mother, General Beaumont, M. de Cosse, M. de La Ville, Madame de Fontanges, and Madame Soult. “I see in the distance,” said he, “good M. Vien.” M. David replied, “Yes, Sire; I wished to show my admiration for my illustrious master by placing him in this picture, which, on account of its subject, will be the most famous of my works.” The Empress then took part in the conversation, and pointed out to the Emperor how happily M. David had seized upon and represented the interesting moment when the Emperor is on the point of being crowned. “Yes,” said his Majesty, regarding it with a pleasure that he did not seek to disguise, “the moment is well chosen, and the scene perfectly represented; the two figures are very fine,” and speaking thus, the Emperor looked at the Empress.