Monday, 18 March 2013

Hall of Mirrors

The Hall of Mirrors is probably the most famous room in the Palace of Versailles. It measures 73 metres in length and the ceiling is decorated with paintings of the successes of Louis XIV painted by Le Brun. There are three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors in the gallery which was an extreme luxury when it was built. The mirrors are placed opposite to the large windows which gives the sense of symmetry. The extravagance of building a room with mirrors might seem strange to us today but during the 17th century mirrors were extremely expensive and Venice had the primary monopole on producing mirrors but all the mirrors of the gallery was produced in Paris.

The walls are covered in marble and golden sculptures separates the arches of mirrors. The golden sculptures has replaced elaborate silver furniture that had to be sold to pay for some of Louis XIV's wars.
The court itself primarily used the gallery for walking through and meeting people. Only occasionally did the King choose to use the Hall of Mirrors for political ceremonies or princely weddings. In these cases a throne was placed on a podium on the end of the gallery that faces out towards the Salon de la Paix (the Peace salon). But it was rarely necessary to put on such a show of force. The ambassadors of the Ottoman Empire, Siam and Persia had to walk from one end of the gallery to another with the entire court watching. The wedding of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was celebrated here in 1770.

The gallery was originally built to connect the apartments of the King and those of the Queen. The Salon de la Guerre (War Salon) is at the north side of the gallery and the Salon de la Paix (the Peace Salon) is located at the south side.

Louis XIV himself used the gallery every day while walking to and from Mass and where the court often gathered to watch the royal family pass. It was in this very room that Louis XV met Jeanne-Antoinette for the first time - history remembers her better under the name of Madame de Pompadour. The lovers met during the Ball of the Yew Trees and Louis was dressed as a yew tree and Jeanne-Antoinette as the goddess Diana.

Château de Versailles, France.


Hall of Mirrors, Chateau Versailles

Versailles - Hall of Mirrors

La Galerie des Glaces
View from the floor


La Salle de Bal - détail   #Versailles
Close-up of the foot of a candelabra

Palace of Versailles, France

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