Galerie des Batailles

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Louis-Philippe opening the Galerie des Batailles, 10 June 1837 (painted by François-Joseph Heim)
Central part of the ceiling of the Galerie des Batailles

The Galerie des Batailles (Gallery of Battles) is a 120 metre long and 13 metre wide (390ft. x 43ft.) gallery occupying the first floor of the aile du midi of the Palace of Versailles, joining onto the grand and petit 'appartements de la reine'. It is an epigone of the Grande galerie of the Louvre and was intended to glorify French military history from the Battle of Tolbiac (traditionally dated 495) to the Battle of Wagram (5–6 July 1809).

History

Its creation was the idea of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French and it replaced apartments which had been occupied in the 17th and 18th centuries by

The architects Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine1 and Frédéric Nepveu created a solemn decorative scheme for it, with a wide cornice supporting a coffered painted ceiling with entablatures supported by Corinthian columns along the length of the gallery. 13 bronze tablets on the wall are inscribed with the names of princes, admirals, constables, marshals and warriors killed or wounded whilst fighting for France. There are also busts placed on supports against the columns and between the paintings.

The main contents of the rooms, however, were envisaged as the vast paintings showing major military events in French history, some already in existence but mostly specially commissioned for the Galerie. While a number of them were of questionable quality, a few masterpieces, such as the Battle of Taillebourg by Eugène Delacroix, were displayed here.

List of busts and paintings

Floor plan of the Galerie des Batailles

Numbers correspond to plan.

  • 10) Commemorative tablet at the north end of the galerie.
  • 11) Commemorative tablet at the north end of the galerie.
  • 19) Jean-Baptiste Cervoni, général de division (1765–1809). Artist : after Pietro Cardelli (1776–1822).
  • 20) Napoleon-imperial-guard.png Battle of Jena, 14 October 1806, 5.43m by 4.65m, showing Napoleon I, Joachim Murat and Louis Alexandre Berthier, dated and signed "Horace Vernet 1836"
  • 22) Austerlitz-baron-Pascal.jpg Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805, oil on canvas, sketch after an original that in 1846 was in the Paillet collection, commissioned by Napoleon I for the ceiling of the salle du Conseil d'État at the palais des Tuileries in Paris, showing Napoleon accompanied by Jean Rapp, 9.58m by 5.10m
  • 38) Jacques Dampierre de Châtillon, sire de Amiral de France. Killed at the battle of Agincourt 1415.
  • 41) Count Eudes defending Paris against the Normans in 885, 5.42m by 4.65m, commissioned by Louis-Philippe in 1834, signed "V. Schnetz".
  • 64) Fernand de Nogaret, seigneur de Lavalette
  • 71) Battle of Rocroi, 19 May 1643, the duc d'Enghien ordering his troops to stop fighting the Spanish, who have come to him to surrender. Artist : François Joseph Heim (1787–1865.)vers 1834, 4.65m by 5.43m
  • 82) Capture of Valenciennes, 17 March 1677. "Louis XIV", oil on canvas, dated "1837", the year it was commissioned by Louis-Philippe; 4.65m by 4.15m
  • 111) Commemorative plaques
  • 116)
  • 117) Jean Baptiste Kléber, général en chef (1753–1800). After Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire (1798–1880) (location uncertain)

Damage

In 1978, Breton nationalists of the Breton Revolutionary Army caused major damage to the Galerie2 in planting a bomb. Having failed to plant one in the Hall of Mirrors, they moved to the galerie des Batailles, targeting Napoleon as a symbol of French colonialism.

References

  1. ^ Histoire de Versailles.
  2. ^ Liens sur l'attentat de 1978 : [1], [2].

Bibliography

  • Constans, Claire (1985). "1837: L'inauguration par Louis-Philippe du musée dédié 'À Toutes les gloires de la France'". Colloque de Versailles
  • Mauguin, Georges (1937). "L’Inauguration du Musée de Versailles". Revue de l’histoire de Versailles: 112–146
  • Verlet, Pierre (1985). Le château de Versailles. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard.

Coordinates: 48°48′16″N 2°07′15″E / 48.80444°N 2.12083°E / 48.80444; 2.12083








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