Art Friday: Palace of Versailles

One of the most famous rooms is the Hall of Mirrors. It has 17 huge mirrored arches opposite 17 windows. Each one of the arch contains 21 mirrors, which makes it a massive 357 in all. The hall is 73 meters (239.5 feet)  long, 10.5 meters (34.4 feet)  wide, and 12.3 meters (40.4 feet) high. The ceilings of the hall have intricate paintings and the borders of the wall are decorated with gilded statues. The several glass chandeliers that hang from its ceiling, are another beautiful aspect of the hall. On special occasions, the Hall of Mirrors was lit with as many as 20,000 candles to transform it into a “corridor of light”.

The Palace of Versailles

Last weekend I attended an exhibition of 130 pieces of art, sculpture, carpets, tapestries and other treasures from the Palace of Versailles. It is very rare for anything from this grand palace to leave France, so Australia has been very fortunate to see these beautiful masterpieces. Even this very small selection showed the opulence of this grand palace.

  • The palace was built in the 17th century for King Louis XIV, The Sun King, who was France’s King at the time.  It took 36,000 workers to construct the palace, along with its gardens. After its completion, it could accommodate as many as 5,000 people at a time.
  • The Palace of Versailles has a total number of 2,153 windows, 1,200 fireplaces, 700 rooms, over 67 staircases.
  • The palace itself contains 67,002 square metres (721,206 square feet) of floor space.
  • The Palace of Versailles was decorated with valuable paintings and works of art. It contained an estimated 6,000 paintings and 5,000 pieces of furniture and other objects.
  • The gardens of Versailles have approximately 400 sculptures.
  • The kitchens of the palace alone had hundreds of servants, in spite of which the King’s meals were often served cold, due to the distance between the kitchen and the dining room.
  • Actual building costs for Versailles are debated by modern historians, because currency values are uncertain. However, Versailles’ price tag ranges anywhere from two billion dollars (in 1994 USD) all the way up to a maximum cost of $299,520,000,000!

  • The Palace of Versailles cover an area of 8,150,265 square meters (87,728,720 square feet), or 2,014 acres, making it the World’s Largest Royal Domain.
  • The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France for little more than a century (from 1682 until 1789) when the French Revolution began.
  • The palace was almost destroyed during the French Revolution, as a result of which, its importance and utility decreased.




  • The Garden of Versailles is spread across 1,976 acres, and is one of the biggest gardens in the world. 210,000 flowers and 200,000 trees are planted annually in The Garden of Versailles. In 1979, the gardens along with the chΓ’teau were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • The marvel of the gardens of Versailles – then as now – is the fountains. It has 50 spectacular fountains with 620 jets, which were installed to entertain the guests. A lot of these fountains still use the same hydraulics network, which was built by the Royal Family. King Louis XIV spent one third of the total building budget of the palace, on its fountains alone.





Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Which may explain why they list their heads and had a Revolution πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

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  2. I agree that the opulence likely contributed to them losing their heads in the Revolution! Such extravagance.

    I think that a place like that would be hard to live in. I've noticed that fancy houses tend to make one feel the need to live up to them, how much more so a place like this? One could find it hard to relax and get comfortable. I like to wear my work clothes and do some dirty jobs sometimes, but in a palace like that it wouldn't be appropriate. Also, it seems like it would get boring living in a place that was so "perfect" and exquisite. One of the simple joys of life is finding ways to rearrange and improve on one's surroundings.
    (Just as a side note, I think it's kind of awful to think of never learning to dress oneself, or never being able to because of the extensive process of it.)

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    1. Of course, I mean never learning to dress oneself because one is the wealthy elite, and that's a menial task that servants should do for you. If someone actually can't dress themselves that's no shame at all.

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    2. Also, imagine what it must have been like going from one extremity of that house to another! With all those heavy clothing that the women wore at times, it must have been somewhat exhausting! And, for the servants it must have been very tiring.

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  3. Just imagine all the dust and having to clean the soot that would have covered everything from the many fireplaces . I don't think it was as glamorous as we like to think . At the concierge ring of the limited washing body smells would have been quite strong .

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