Galerie des Batailles, Versailles of course!

So moving along on my nostaltic tour of my beloved Versailles, I like to expand a bit on a wonderful place inside the Château de Versailles. I have written in my blog before and you know you can search but not in a post by itself , which I think merits one.

Therefore, I will tell you a bit more on the galerie des batailles or gallery of battles of the palace of Versailles. This is my take on it.

In the 19C, the Château de Versailles experienced a new destiny: to become the Museum of the History of France, dedicated to “all the glories” of France, according to the wishes of Louis-Philippe, the new king of the French in 1830. The Museum of the history of France was created in 1837 by King Louis-Philippe, who entrusted the organization to the Count of Montalivet. Installed in the wings of the Château de Versailles, then in a state close to abandonment, it brings together a vast ensemble of portraits and historical scenes, canvases commissioned for the most part to artists of the time. A unique ensemble in Europe, it has recently undergone restorations. It includes the Galerie des Batailles (gallery of battles), a gallery of 120 meters long with large paintings illustrating the major military events in the history of France. Not many realized this is a museum and think only of a castle; but it was saved by Louis Philippe creating the idea of all the glories of France and creating a museum here!

The collections of the Museum of the History of France include today almost 6 000 paintings and 1 500 sculptures, dated from the 15-20C, of which almost half are orders of Louis-Philippe for his museum (works of creation, copies and die castings). Since the fall of Louis-Philippe in 1848, the collections have continued to enrich themselves, by orders or purchases of the French Republic, but also by numerous legacies and donations. Most of these works are in the official art and have been used for generations to illustrate countless books of history, literature, dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

Versailles

The Gallery of Battles is a gallery in the Museum of the History of France, located on the first floor of the south wing of the Château de Versailles. This gallery measures 120 meters long by 13 meters wide and occupies the length of the first floor of the central wing or aile du Midi. The architects Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine and Frédéric Nepveu created the solemn decor. A large cornice supports a painted coffered vault and encasements supported by corinthian columns chant the length of the gallery. On sixteen bronze tables are the names of princes, admirals, constables, marshals, great warriors killed or wounded to death fighting for France.   The busts are placed on sheaths between the tables and against the columns. The Battle Hall features the busts of French soldiers who died in combat. The paintings cover fourteen centuries of the history of France, since the Battle of Tolbiac, delivered by Clovis in 496, to that of Wagram, won by Napoleon Ier in 1809. A bit of credit on architect Frédéric Nepveu of which street directly to you left and before getting into the avenue saint cloud is name after. More here: Chateau de Versailles on Frederic Nepveu

Versailles

Its creation was decided by King Louis-Philippe in the place of apartments which had been successively occupied, in the 17-18C by the Duke of Orléans Philippe de France, said Monsieur, brother of Louis XIV, and by his second wife, Elisabeth-Charlotte Palatine Princess of Bavaria; The Duke and Duchess of Chartres, Philippe d’Orléans, regent during the minority of Louis XV; The Duke of Orléans, son of the regent, Louis d’Orléans; the Dauphine; the Count of Artois (future king Charles X) ; and Madame. Elisabeth (sister of Louis XVI).

There was some renovations to house the gallery from the above apartments: mainly a metal structure and a large overhead window similar to the Grand Gallery at the Louvre museum. French history is presented from Clovis to Napoléon by reading left to right with special mention of Tolbiac, Poitiers, Bouvines, Marignan, Rocroi, Yorktown (my favorite ::) , Rivoli , and Austerlitz. In the center , among the heroes ,the historical sequence portrays the horsemen, the statement, the wounded, and the leader or legitimate sovereign who prefigured the new king of France.

Versailles

You can enjoy, Delacroix painting of the battle of Taillebourg part of a series devoted to the Hundred Years’ War. Also, works by Horace Vernet, Heim and Bard who did paintings on the inauguration festivities of the Gallery of Battles in 1837. You will see the portrait of the battle of Saint Louis vs Hugues de Lusignan rebel vassal allied with king Henry II of England (a sketch is at the Louvre museum as well). The revolt of Cairo 1798, painted by Anne Louis Girodet showing General Dupuy trying to disperse the crowds on which he was assassinated (similar work by the painter in the Coronation room at the Chateau de Versailles on the battle of Abukir. Of course, for me, nothing better than the battle of Yorktown showing  George Washington Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, count of Rochambeau, and Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette painted by Auguste Couder.

Versailles

Versailles

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Chateau de Versailles Galerie des Batailles

Chateau de Versailles and the great characters of its history

Chateau de Versailles museum collections

Just one single spot worth coming to the Palace/museum of Versailles indeed!!! I could stay long time glancing of these paintings and busts and did come several times.  Enjoy it !!.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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