The Palace of Versailles looms so large in humanity's understanding of unrestrained splendor that it has inspired a whole host of sorry knockoffs. And while all that's been seen of the most famous American Versailles pretender is construction photos, it's hard to imagine the original in any state other than jaw-dropping opulence. Surely it must have its sweatpants-to-brunch Sundays! Well, Messy Nessy Chic has turned up photo series by Robert Polidori, a Candian-born photographer who once shot for the New Yorker, who was invited to document the restoration of Versailles in the mid-1980s. Polidori has returned many times in the intervening years, each time managing to capture unstaged, less-than-perfect views that no tourist will ever see.
Polidori's Versailles is one of peeling paint, ripped wallpaper, stacked scaffolding, and furniture covered in white sheets. It's a place with more character than Louis XIV's resplendent baroque style and the palace's thoroughly modern expansion give off when they're flawless touched up, cleaned, and curated. Below, some of the most fascinating of Polidori's photos, a strong batch of which can be found at Messy Nessy Chic.
· Backstage at Versailles: A Handyman's Tour of the Palace [Messy Nessy Chic]
· All Versailles coverage [Curbed National]