The Hall of Mirrors
In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the Hall of Mirrors from Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The ornamentation is on a monumental scale: 17 windows, 17 mirror-ornamented arches, 8 busts of Roman Emperors, 8 statues of ancient divinities and a vaulted ceiling composed of 30 paintings.
The vault is a masterpiece by Charles Le Brun, illustrating the history of the first 18 years of Louis XIV’s reign. The Hall of Mirrors is both a concourse, a reception room and a place of royal splendour.
Vase with DogsPalace of Versailles
Vase "with Dogs"
Louis XIV brought together at Versailles more than 100 vases in rare ornamental stone, of which the majority were in porphyry. In order to decorate the great space of the Hall of Mirrors, porphyry vases were ordered directly from the stone-cutting workshops in Rome.
Vase with TwistsPalace of Versailles
In 1685, the production of antique vases in yellow marble was entrusted to Giovanni-Antonio Tedeschi. The twists that adorn their bellies are inspired by the usual decoration found on porphyry vases but the delicacy of their sculpting reflects the fine grain of the marble.
German and Spanish alliance with the Dutch Republic by Charles Le BrunPalace of Versailles
German & Spanish Alliance with the Dutch Republic
The Alliance of Germany and Spain with Holland, 1672, Charles Le Brun. Weapons are being forged on the left while troops are preparing on the right. Fleeing blacksmiths and scattered weapons may be seen in the symmetrical composition at the other end of the gallery.
The Dutch Republic accepts peace and breaks away from Germany and Spain by Charles Le BrunPalace of Versailles
The Dutch Republic Accepts Peace
The Dutch Republic accepts peace and breaks away from Germany and Spain, 1678, Charles le Brun. The two paintings at either end of the hall are linked: one shows the union of France’s enemy powers, while the other shows their disunity.
The King ruling by himself, 1661 by Charles Le BrunPalace of Versailles
The King Ruling by Himself, 1661
This painting was “the principal key to everything”. The King is in the centre, seated on his throne, holding the “tiller of the state” in his right hand. The three Graces around him symbolise the talents that Heaven has granted him.
Prosperity of France’s neighbouring powers by Charles Le BrunPalace of Versailles
Prosperity of France’s Neighbouring Powers
In the 18th century, the word "prosperity" was used instead of "pride" but the original meaning of the composition was then lost: it was the pride of the Empire, Spain and Holland that justified France going to war.
The Siamese Embassy, 1686
In 1686, Versailles had an unprecedented visit from the ambassadors of Siam, now Thailand. On this extraordinary occasion, the Hall of Mirrors was adorned with sumptuous silver furnishings, which have since disappeared.
The courtiers stood on either side of the hall to welcome the ambassador of Siam and his suite. Once they had walked through the Hall of Mirrors, the ambassador and his party came to the nine steps at the top of which sat the Sun King on his solid silver throne.
South end of the gallery
Place of the silver throne during the reception of the Siamese embassy.
To see the reception of the Embassy of Siam in 1686 for yourself, take a look on Steam! Travel through time with “Experience Versailles”, a free virtual reality immersion in history.
The Treaty of Versailles, 1919
28 June 1919. After four years of terrible war, the Treaty of Versailles brought an end to the first global conflict in history, in the Hall of Mirrors. For the occasion, 24 carpets were borrowed from the Mobilier National and laid out on the waxed floorboards.
In the centre was a long horseshoe-shaped table and some 200 chairs. Opposite, sitting symbolically under the painting “The King Governs by Himself”, was a Louis XV bureau, on which sat the Treaty, waiting to be signed.
Center of the gallery
Place where the Louis XV desk was put for all diplomatic stakeholder to sign the peace Treaty.
The Treaty of Versailles backstage
On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles is signed in the Hall of Mirrors. Get behind the scenes of the preparation of this historic day and discover, thanks to original archives, how the Palace of Versailles entered in History.