Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Small Gallery

Following the festival of 1668 it was quickly made apparent that the château was far too small to accommodate the court that Louis XIV desired. Thus, the first extensions to the original château was build - including this section. 
In 1672-1682 these bordered the Ambassador's Staircase. Before it was turned into a gallery it was the apartment of Madame de Montespan. When she fell into disgrace it was intended to be transformed into tree separate chambers for the king's gemstone collection. Mignard was commissioned to finish the ceilings which he did in 1685. 
However, the decoration was changed quite often and proved to be both more expensive and time-consuming than initially anticipated. After an entire decade of these attempts it was finally turned into a gallery. 

The walls had been covered in blue damask which were then exchanged for deep crimson. To create cohesion with the previous rooms it was adorned with Corinthian pillars gilded in gold. 

Twenty-two paintings from the royal collections were hung on the walls. These included: "Mona Lisa" by da Vinci, "The Great Holy Family" by Raphäel, "Apollo and Daphne" by Albane and "Adam and Eve" by Dominiquin. 

The first room in the gallery had a big fireplace on which ornamental vases were placed. Two armchairs and eight stool were placed in this part of the gallery.
The main gallery was quite a bit larger. It contained four armchairs, twelve stools and a screen - all in red damask.

The last room was connected to the Ambassador's Staircase by a hidden door. Two armchairs and six stools - in the classic red damask and golden tassels - made up the furniture of the room. Throughout the gallery the windows had been hung with white curtains.

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