Sunday, July 24, 2011

(Blog 6) Versailles Palace − The Hall of Mirrors

Towards the end of the Reformation era the Baroque style was a style in which the art and artists of the time focused upon details and intricate designs. Their art often appeals to the mind by way of the heart. Much of the art shows great energy and feeling, and a dramatic use of light, scale, and balance. Buildings were more elaborate and ornately decorated. These works of art created history and altered the progress of Western Civilization. Architecture such as palace of Versailles is a grand building outside of Paris, which exhibits the characteristics of the Baroque or Romantic style. It was elaborately decorated and the product took 20 years to create.

Romantic art was expressed by individualism, irrationalism, creativity, emotions and nature. During this time, emotion was considered more important over reason along with the senses over intellect. Romantic artists of the time often explored themes of passion, imagination, and the subconscious.

The world-famous Versailles Palace is 6 miles southeast of Paris. It was originally a hunting lodge in 1624. The palace is part of an elaborate complex that includes a royal chapel, incredible landscaping, fountains, complex arraigned flower beds, reflecting pools, exotic trees, statues, all set in an elaborate park over two miles long. (Mathews and Platt 438). After completion in the late 16th century, the Hall of Mirrors was used by Louis XIV when he walked from his private apartment to the chapel.

From 1678 to 1684, Charles Lebrun and Jules Hardouin-Mansart were the French architects that designed this enormous hall (Mathews and Platt 439). The 1.000 square meters of the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors is decorated with paintings illustrating the military campaigns of Louis XIV and his actions of interior policy. Mirrors were among the most expensive items to acquire at the time and new technologies were developed for the manufacture of the special glass adding to significance of this construction.

After passing through the Grand Apartments of the King, you'll be in the Hall of Mirrors, 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, 239.5 feet long, with one wall covered in mirrors, 578 in all with 40 foot ceilings. 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 ornately painted ceilings; the walls are accented with gold and clad in marble.

Only a small portion of the palace is available to the public which is estimated to contain 6,000 paintings and 2,000 sculptures. The Hall of Mirrors was completely restored in 2007 and is utilized today for special state occasions such as visiting heads of state.

The included pictures only show a small vision of the incredible beauty and style of the Hall of Mirrors. In research I found this site, that gives a 360ยบ panoramic view of the hall and brings at least a little more of the grander , the richness, the opulence, the awe of this very special place. When you look at this beauty you cannot help but wonder if our construction today would offer the same reverence for space as this. These artisans spent years creating something that would bring a sense of awe to the observer and has lasted 350 years. You just do not see that dedication today. What are we offering civilization 300+ years in our future? Will our great-great-great-great be as impressed?

The Fountain of Latona overlooking the grounds at Versailles Palace

Versailles Palace Picture - Versailles is one of the largest and most lavish palaces in the world. It is a short train ride from Paris.

Works Cited

Matthews, Roy and F. DeWitt, Platt, The Western Humanities, Complete. Sixth. McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.