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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Hall of Mirrors

Versailles

17th century

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The Hall of the Mirrors is one of the most famous rooms in the Palace of Versailles.

It was one of the most dazzling displays of wealth in the 17th century and the envy of other European courts.

The gallery measures a massive 70 x 10m and overlooks the gardens.

It was filled with silver furniture (later melted to finance Louis XIV's wars) and hosted balls, weddings, diplomatic missions - and could also be used by courtiers during the day.

In the evenings it was lit by thousands of candles, reflected in the mirrors panels.

The 350 mirrors are the most famous feature of the gallery.

The ability to produce so many mirrors, and to such high standards, was a testimony to the French king's incredible wealth.

It's said that the idea of decorating the gallery with mirrors actually came from Louis XIV's chief architect, Mansart, who didn't want to give his rival, the chief artist Le Brun, more space to impress the king!

The ceiling, like many artworks in Versailles, is aimed at promoting the king's power.

The central painting is particularly immodest, entitled "Louis XIV governing by himself"!

Louis XV met his famous mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, at a masked ball here.

The gallery also hosted Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette's wedding reception.

It was also the backdrop of the famous Treaty of Versailles, which put an end to the First World War.

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)

Next:

The State Apartments

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