Gallery of Battles Versailles France 1892

Gallery of Battles Versailles France about 1892

GALLERY OF BATTLES VERSAILLES — One of the most imposing and interesting of all the splendid apartments in the palace of Versailles is what is called the “Gallery of Battles.” It has a length of about four hundred feet, and is lighted from the roof, which is made of iron. It is, as the name denotes, a gallery dedicated to the glorification of the God of War. Around the walls are eighty marble busts commemorating famous generals of France, and above these are some of the finest paintings of battle-scenes that Art has yet produced. Naturally they all portray the glories of the armies of France in early and in recent times, from Charlemagne to Napoleon. The Napoleonic paintings are particularly fine, and represent in startling force and vividness such victories as Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland, Rivoli and Wagram. This and the many other picture-galleries at Versailles are therefore not mere exhibitions of art, they are illumined tablets of history, calculated to awaken patriotism and stimulate the youth of France to acquire a knowledge of their country’s history and to emulate the heroic deeds immortalized here upon the glowing canvas. Like all the other National Museums of France, this Palace of Versailles is freely open to the public and can be enjoyed and utilized by the humblest peasant. It is greatly to the credit of the Germans, when they occupied this palace during the siege of Paris in 1871, that they carefully covered these paintings and preserved them from injury, although many of them represented humiliating defeats which their fathers suffered under the iron hand of the first Napoleon. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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