"Hall of Mirrors." Top 5 Page for this destination Versailles Tip by breughel
Versailles, Paris: 206 reviews and 387 photos
Behind the Hall of Mirrors, symbol of the power of the King stands the remarkable project manager Charles le Brun (1619-1690).
As “Premier peintre du Roi" 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.
As what concerns the 357 mirrors it is said that Venetian glassmakers were attracted in France by Colbert. 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 in that time!
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 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.
Address: Château de Versailles.
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