Moving in a clockwise direction from the central arch on the east side, follow the story of Louis XIV’s reign in the paintings by Le Brun.
In the grand scheme of the Palace of Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors was often described as a passageway, serving as a meeting or waiting place for the courtiers and public. Fast forward to now and we see it as an attraction in itself, awesomely embellished with gilt, chandeliers, and of course the 357 mirrors that decorate its arches, attesting to the French technical skill of the time.
The entire 73 metre length of the Gallery was designed to mirror the political, economic and artistic success of France under the reign of Louis XIV. His achievements over eighteen years on the throne are documented in thirty compositions by Charles Le Brun, who was the chief artist of 'Louis XIV style.' Military victories and even monarchic reform are portrayed by elaborate allegories. And of course, the mirrors, which were a luxury item at the time, were really a jibe at the monopoly on production held in Venice. Le Brun showed off further artistic prowess: marble pilasters are decorated with ornate gilt representations of national emblems, a fleur de lys topped by a royal sun between two French cockerels.
The hall was even used for ball games on the occasion of princely weddings. On formal occasions, the throne would be installed on a podium at the end of the gallery and the king would demand that the visiting powers walk its length - the doge of Genoa in 1685 and the ambassadors of Siam, Persia and the Ottoman Empire on different occasions had to do so, intimidated by the pomp and splendour of their surroundings.
It was also here that the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919, which marked the end of the First World War.
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