Mirror, Mirror on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?

versaillies hall of mirrorsThe Hall of Mirrors in the Chateau of Versailles, occupies the site of the last two cabinets of the King Louis XIV  State Apartment, dedicated to Saturn and Venus, the terrace and the last two cabinets of the Queen’s State Apartment. The actual Hall is a staggering  79 yards long, x 11 yards wide, x 13 yards high. Its decoration began in 1678 and was completed in 1684. It contains Pyrenees marble pilasters, gilded bronze trophies; and 17 mirror-lined arcades corresponding to the 17 windows, which creates its majestic air.

  • According to Wikipedia, the gilded candelabras are exact copies of the originals (now in the Apollo Drawing Room) which were ordered by Louis XV in 1769.
  • The original decorative plan was to have depicted the exploits of Apollo, being consistent with the imagery associated with the Sun-King, Louis XIV. However, when the King learned that his brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, had commissioned Pierre Mignard to decorate the ceiling of the grande gallerie of his brother’s residence at Château de Saint-Cloud, Louis XIV rejected the plan.
  • The next decorative plan included the exploits of Hercules — as allegories to the actions of Louis XIV — were to be depicted. Again, as with the first plan, the Hercules theme was rejected by the King.
  • The final plan represents military victories of Louis XIV starting with the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) to the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678–1679).

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