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.
Address: Château de Versailles.
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.
Address: Château de Versailles
.. 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 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.
The Hall of Mirrors was an afterthought. Louis XiV so enjoyed the view from his terrace above the ground floor "out back" of Le Notres stepped French Garden, that he had it enclosed so that he could comfortably take the view in every weather. That is how the Hall came about. It is 1/2 the width of a football field and twice the length, (the giant Hercules Salon is 1/4 its size), and is considered the largest (palace) room in the world. There are 17 ceiling length windows looking West and facing equivalent areas of mirror on the opposite wall. The ceiling is lavishly decorated and more light is provided by chandeliers and gilded candlelabrae. In the niches between the mirrors are statues which are excellent copies of Greco-Roman originals (mostly possessed by the Pope). The Hall has been the site of "Important Political Events". It usually contains about 1/4 of the tourist density of Times Square in NYC on New Year's Eve.