The Hall of Mirrors - La Galerie des Glaces, Versailles
Behind the Hall of Mirrors, symbol of the power of the King stands the remarkable project manager Charles le Brun (1619-1690).
A French tourism official said that tourists are coming to France to see La Joconde from Leonardo Da Vinci and the Hall of Mirrors from …? Indeed most do ignore.
It is with the restoration of the hall of Mirrors between 2004 and 2007 that le Brun came again under the lights of celebrity as at the time of Louis XIV.
As “First Painter of the King”, as director of the Gobelins (royal factory of tapestries and furniture), as a chancellor of the royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, le Brun superintended all the decoration of the palace of Versailles.
He designed the decorations, the paintings of the royal apartments, the ornaments of the woodworks, the tapestries, even the locks. He directed the many teams, and could give a unit of style to the décor.
One could say of this complete decorator that “all arts worked under him”.
From 1678 to 1684, Charles le Brun decorated 1.000 m2 of the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors with paintings illustrating the military campaigns of Louis XIV and his actions of interior policy. He upset the codes of official painting by painting for the first time in this type of compositions the face of the King.
Inutile de décrire à nouveau la célèbre Galerie des Glaces, d'autres l'ont fait ici à satiété.
Derrière ce symbole de la puissance du Roi il y a le maître d'œuvre Charles le Brun (1619-1690).
En tant que "Premier Peintre du Roi", en tant que directeur des Gobelins (fabrique royale de tapisseries et de meubles précieux), en tant que chancelier de l'Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, Le Brun était le maître d'œuvre de la décoration du château de Versailles.
Il conçoit les principaux décors, les peintures des grands appartements, les ornements des boiseries, les tapisseries, même les serrures. Il dirigea des équipes nombreuses, et sut donner une unité de style.
C'est ainsi qu'on a pu dire de ce décorateur complet que "tous les arts travaillaient sous lui"
De 1678 à 1684, Charles le Brun décora par des peintures couvrant 1.000 m2 du plafond (magnifiquement restauré de 2004 à 2007) la splendide galerie des Glaces du château de Versailles en y illustrant les campagnes militaires de Louis XIV ainsi que ses actions de politique intérieure.
Il bouleversa les codes de la peinture officielle en peignant pour le première fois dans ce type de compositions le véritable visage du Roi. Le Brun est pour moi le plus grand personnage du Château de Versailles après son royal commanditaire.
Historians did wonder whether the story of the Venetian glassmakers attracted in France by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and betraying the Venetian secrecy of the manufacture of mirrors was true.
It is said that these glassmakers coming from Murano were pursued in France by Venetians who tried to assassinate them to prevent the transmission of their production secrecy. A quite profitable manufacturing as Venetian mirrors did cost much more than a painting of Rubens!
Recent chemical analyzes showed that the mirrors of Versailles were indeed manufactured in France, by the Saint-Gobain company created by Louis XIV, because typical components coming from Normandy were found in these mirrors.
At the time the silvering of the mirrors was done with tin and mercury what involved a high mortality among the workmen exposed to the toxic mercury vapours.
During the recent restoration of the gallery 30% of the old mirrors had to be replaced whereas silvering with mercury is prohibited since 1850.
Now, as visitors will see, the mirrors with mercury give special reflections, tonality and depth, while modern mirrors produce rather flat images.
Old mirrors were found at antique dealers and in the attics of the French Senate.
Since the silvering of these 357 old mirrors contains approximately 19% mercury an analysis of the air of the hall of mirrors was carried out.
Be reassured the content of mercury in the air of the gallery is lower than the WHO's standards.
Les historiens se sont demandés si l'histoire des verriers vénitiens attirés en France par Colbert et trahissant le secret vénitien de la fabrication des miroirs était vraie?
Il est dit que ces verriers venus de Murano furent pourchassés par des Vénitiens qui essayèrent de les assassiner pour empêcher la transmission de ce profitable secret.
Ces miroirs coûtaient à l'époque beaucoup plus cher qu'un tableau de Rubens!
Des analyses chimiques ont montré que les miroirs furent bien fabriqués en France par la compagnie de Saint-Gobain créée par Louis XIV car on y a trouvé des composants typiques provenant de Normandie.
A cette époque l'étamage des miroirs se faisait avec du mercure ce qui entraînait une mortalité élevée parmi les ouvriers exposés aux vapeurs toxiques de mercure.
Lors de la restauration récente de la galerie des glaces on a du remplacer 30% des miroirs anciens alors que l'étamage au mercure est interdit depuis 1850.
Or comme les visiteurs peuvent constater les miroirs au mercure donnent des reflets, un scintillement, une tonalité et une profondeur spéciales, là où les miroirs modernes produisent des images plates.
Des miroirs anciens ont été trouvés chez les antiquaires et dans les greniers du Sénat français.
Etant donné que le tain de ces 357 anciens miroirs contient environ 19% de mercure des analyses de l'air de la galerie des glaces ont été effectuées.
Soyez rassurés le taux de mercure dans l'air est inférieur aux normes de l'OMS.
.. one of the things I remember is the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. That is not surprising because this is the most famous part of the palace, built in 1678 as part of the renovation/addition to Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV. The Hall is dazzling and immense, 220 feet long, with one wall covered in mirrors, 357 in all. At that time, mirrors were very expensive so this was a really big conspicuous consumption item.
I took a selfie and what I see now at a distance of 50 years is that the mirrors were dirty. It has apparently been restored and was re-opened in 2007
Versailles was such a 'hit' that all over Europe, other kings and monarchs have built their own Versailles-like palaces.
The Hall of Mirrors (La Grande Galerie) is an astounding room even today. But imagine the impression it must have made in the seventeenth century when even the smallest mirror was an expensive luxury item that usually had to be imported from Venice, at least until the French began making their own mirrors at the Gobelin manufactory in Paris.
I took a tour of the Gobelin manufactory in 2013 and saw how their tapestries and carpets are made – slowly! – using traditional methods that have scarcely changed from the time of Louis XIV nearly four centuries ago. But they do not make mirrors at the Gobelin manufactory any longer.
As I have learned from my friend breughel here on VirtualTourist, making mirrors was a hazardous occupation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries because mercury was used to coat the backs of the mirrors. Many craftsmen died from breathing in the mercury fumes.
When the Hall of Mirrors was restored in 2007 some of the mirrors had to be replaced, but it was impossible to make new mirrors using mercury because this has been illegal since 1850, so they had to find or buy antique mirrors to replace the ones that were broken. Mirrors with mercury! - Miroirs au mercure! The Hall of Mirrors ( La Galerie des Glaces ) Tip by breughel.
The Hall of Mirrors is 73 meters long, 10.5 meters wide and 12.3 meters high. Seventeen large windows look out onto the palace gardens. 578 mirrors are mounted on the wall opposite the windows. On the ceiling there are large paintings glorifying events in the early years of the reign of Louis XIV.
Address: Château de Versailles – Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
Directions: Location and photo on monumentum.fr
Next: The King’s bedroom
The Galerie des glaces or the hall of mirrors inside the Palace of Versailles is a gallery of pomp of baroque style of the 17th century, designed to dazzle visitors to the absolute monarch Louis XIV at the height of its power. 73 meters long, 10.50 meters wide and lit by 17 Windows, it is coated with 357 mirrors, or 21 mirrors at each of the 17 arches facing the 17 Windows. It was designed by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and built between 1678 and 1684. Its work of art and just along worth coming to the castle.
Several galleries have been able to serve as models: that of the Château de Clagny of Madame de Montespan (favorite of Louis XIV) at Clagny-Glatigny (today one of the eight districts of the city of Versailles), built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, or that of the Château de Saint-Cloud.The project is presented to King Louis XIV by Mansart in 1679. Work began the same year on the site of a terrace (which you can still see the remains in the attic above the vaults) overlooking the West façade of the castle of Louis XIII that linked the two wings (including apartments) that Louis Le Vau built North and South of it to wrap it up. Following the construction of this gallery. The painter and decorator Charles Le Brun starts the decoration in 1680. The Gallery is opened in 1684.
The Hall of mirrors is located in the alignment of the green carpet, between war and peace, these lounges respectively giving access to the apartments of the King and the Queen.
Due to its exceptional dimensions , the wealth and the size of its 357 mirrors , the Gallery is a real event in the 17th century. It shows the capabilities of the manufacture of mirrors created by Colbert in 1665 to fight the rule of Venice in this technique. In a time where the smaller mirror is very expensive, French workers are able to manufacture mirrors of a dimension and of exceptional quality, allowing Colbert to prohibit the importation of Venetian products as early as 1672. The mirrors were made in La Glacerie, a factory of glass and mirrors, located to the South of Cherbourg .The seventeen arched windows give birth to as many arcades decorated with mirrors by chopsticks and chiseled bronze cabochons. The arcades are alternately surmounted by a head of Apollo and the remains of the Nemean lion.
The ceiling is decorated almost 1,000 m2 of workshop of Charles Le Brun paintings illustrating the achievements of the reign of Louis XIV, starring the King himself in 30 large compositions. Half of the surface is composed of (i.e. glued on the vault after having been executed) mounted canvas. These are the most prestigious stages and were painted by the Brown himself, aged 60 years at the beginning of the work. The other half is painted directly on the vault.The furniture and many statues that decorated it originally were dispersed during the French Revolution. The capitals of pilasters of Rance marble on a background of white marble are decorated with a fleur de lys and Gallic roosters. Gilded, bronze trophies that adorn the piers in green marble from Campan, were chased by the Goldsmith Pierre Ladoyreau .Eight busts of Roman emperors, in marble and porphyry, accompanied eight statues, including seven antiques, representative Bacchus, Venus (Venus of Arles and Troas), modesty, Hermes, Uchiha, Nemesis and Diane de Versailles. The latter moved to the Louvre in 1798, was replaced by a Diane sculpted by Frémin for the gardens of the Château de Marly until the restoration of the Hall of mirrors from 2004-2007 where a cast of Diane de Versailles in cultured marble is reinstalled.
During the reign of Louis XIV, the Gallery is primarily a place of passage, the King preferring to receive guests in the salons of the large apartments. Several hearings there were however granted, including one to the doge of Genoa in 1685, the ambassadors of Siam in 1686 and those of the shah of Persia in 1715. Louis XV also received the King Mahmud Ier of Turkey in 1742. Anecdotally, the Gallery lives the arrest of the Grand almoner of France the unwary Cardinal de Rohan in 1785, before his incarceration in the Bastille (epilogue to the affair of the necklace of the Queen).Gallery of mirrors was also part of major festivities such as the marriage of the future dauphin Louis XVI with Marie-Antoinette of Austria in 1770, the receipt by the general of Gaulle of President John f. Kennedy and his wife, that given in honor of the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1974 or the invitation of representatives of the "G7" by President François Mitterrand from 4 to 6 June 1982.
A magical place indeed that went there just to browse when not too many people as I lived for nine plus years in the city.
The most impressing hall - the Hall of Mirrors. At one side of a hall - 17 huge windows, and at another - 17 mirrors in the form of windows. It is especially light in a hall therefore, and crystal lusters hanging down from a ceiling and the gilt statues along walls create conditions of special riches and solemnity.
The Hall of Mirrors is by far the most impressive of the rooms in the Versailles Palace. The principal feature of this famous hall is the seventeen mirror-clad arches that reflect the seventeen arcaded windows that overlook the gardens. Each arch contains twenty-one mirrors with a total complement of 357.
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the palace. The gallery has beautiful windows that reflect the light from thefloor to seiling arched windows. The beautiful chandeliers are also reflected in the mirrors and give the galley and even larger scale. The guilded sculpture candelabras are incredibly beautiful and add to the luxury of the decoration. Don't forget to look up at the ceiling that has some decorative panels depicting victories of Loius XIV.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed here on June 28, 1919 and ended WWI.
The Hall of Mirrors is a popular attracion at Versailles so be prepared for the tourist crunch when walking through the gallery.
This amazing place is the central gallery of Versailles and is one of the most famous rooms in the world. It is absolutely astonishing!! just luxury, luxury and more luxury as the rest of the Palace.
It was made by Jules Hardoin-Mansart and the painter Carles Le Brun. The paintings reflects Louis XIV history: since he took the power on 1661 to the Nimegue peace in 1678.
Many royal celebrations as well as royal wedding receptions, took place in there. This room is very large (73 m) and it is almost impossible to have a nice picture of it without people!!
After passing through the Grand Apartments of the King, you'll be in the Hall of Mirrors (galerie des glaces), the most famous part of the palace, built in 1678 as part of the 3rd renovation/addition to Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV. The Hall is dazzling and immense, 220 feet long, with one wall covered in mirrors, 357 in all. There are 17 mirror clad arches, each with 21 mirrors, reflecting on the 17 windows that overlook the gardens. Rows of crystal chandeliers hang from the frescoed ceilings, the walls are accented with gold and clad in marble.
The Hall recently had a $16 million facelift, restored to what it looked like in the time of the Sun King. Amazingly about 60-70% of the mirrors are original to that time, manufactured in Paris instead of Venice as ordered by the King. Some were replaced in the 19th century, some were replaced during the restoration with mirrors from that time period. The ceiling frescoes by Charles Le Brun, a tribute to Louis XIV’s military victories in the Dutch Wars of the 1600s, were also restored, many of the originals had been covered up and what exists now are the restored original Le Brun paintings.
Later in its history the Hall was the setting for a meeting between Napoleon and Queen Victoria as well as a formal dinner for US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie given by French President Charles de Gaulle but more importantly as the setting for the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 that ended World War I.
It's of course impossible to get a shot of the Hall of Mirrors without bus loads of people in it and equally as impossible to take a shot of yourself in one of the mirrors without someone walking into your photo. But I had to try, didn't I?
This is probably the room that Versailles is most well known for. Its a massively huge long room lined with mirrors and countless chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately its also extremely full of people! Well worth the visit though.
Back in time big halls were fashion.
They were a way to connect all the different appartments.
This fabulous Halls is situated inside the Castle of Versailles.
The King wanted to build one even in Versailles, for this reason between 1678 and 1684 he decided to build one. closing the new castle terrace.
The big Hall was designed using architectual lines from the new castle for a lenght of 73 meters.
All the decorations inside the Hall have been done by Charles Le Brun.
You will be fascinated from the quantity of mirrors, fabulous paintins and statues all over the Hall lenght.
Probably the room that Versailles is most well known for is the Hall of Mirrors. Its a huge long room lined with mirrors and countless chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately its also chock full of people! Its amazing to see though!
The Hall of Mirrors sparkled and shone. The effort of many workman to clean and reguild the crystals, the statues the mirrors and paintings paid off. What an amazing room. It goes the whole length of the chateau with windows looking out toward the gardens and the mirrors reflecting the view. With chandeliers and candleabras, with statues and paintings and gold leafed scrolls it was built to impress and it does. Even with the crowds I felt the history of this room. I could hear the music. There is no pressure to leave to quickly. Spend some time, wander back and forth, enjoy the grandeur.
Pojecting at the center (covering the Hall of Mirrors) of the immense 680m length is a set of vertical columns that contrast with long horizontal perspective. A bulustrad traces the length below the roo, decorated with statues, trophies and vases, most lavish at the center. Below the facade is a large raised terrace with giant carved vases at each end (War, north; Peace, south) matching the subjects of the rooms above in the same areas. The terrace leads down to the Parterres (d'Eau, Nord and Midi). All of this work is by Mansard and Le Vau.