The Palace of Versailles has been around for hundreds of years. Before it became the official home of the France Kings, between 1683 to 1789, it was simply a hunting and vacation home. Louis XIV was the king who moved the capital of France from Paris to Versailles. He also moved the entire government, courts, and courtiers into this one Palace. This definitely demonstrates the corruption that can come from monarchy. For Louis XIV, this was an opportunity to demonstrate his power; but, if it were not for Louis’s persistence on moving the court into this building and improving the Palace, we we would not have the same beautiful Palace we have today.
Here is an engraving, done by Israel Silvestre, of the palace when it was a hunting ground for Louis XIII
Here is a painting, done by Pierre Patel in 1668, of the building after it’s first reconstruction
And over time there was more reconstructions done. Here is a picture of an aerial view of the Palace now
The area that I wanted to talk about in this building is the Hall of Mirrors. One of the most known rooms about this Palace is the Hall of Mirrors.
This room was constructed around 1678 to 1689. This room overlooks the garden below, and the mirrors that are placed in the room can even reflect the beauty of the garden from outside. It is filled with 17 large arched mirrors. At the time, mirrors were very expensive, and Louis XIV got 17 large arched mirrors that are made up of many small mirrors. Charles Le Brun painted about 30 paintings on the ceiling of this room that demonstrated the first 18 years of reign by Louis XIV. If anyone is interested in seeing details about the 30 paintings, click here.
This room was used for many special occasions, such as masked balls and party. Looking at this Palace now I can see that people may feel like this was corruptive and a waste of money. However, I do have to disagree with that. It may have been corrupt and wasteful in some aspects, but now we are left with a beautiful Palace and a place that brings us back to the past.
Charles-Nicolas Cochin, Masked Ball, 1745