This room served as a chapel from 1682 until the new chapel inaugurated in 1710. The Hercules Room was ordered at the end of the reign of Louis XIV, by the very fact that it was the last room created by this ruler. It served mostly during his reign as a place of passage between the north wing and the central body of the castle. Not being considered part of the great apartments properly speaking, it is nevertheless the most broad: 18.32 meters high, 13.85 wide and 11.57 long.
Robert de Cotte was responsible for it’s decoration, which began in 1712 to stop at the King’s death in 1715. It was not until the end of the regency (in 1725) to see the work begin again.
The walls are covered with marble summers and 230 pillars are round and decorated with bases and capitals of gilt bronze. They support a cornice decorated with trophies and consoles.
A monumental painting of Veronese, The Supper with Simon, was originally intended for the convent of the Servants in Venice and dates from about 1570. It was offered to Louis XIV so that it helps the Republic in the war against the Turks. Another Veronese’s painting adorns the top of the marble fireplace: Rebecca and Eliezer, painting of 2.40 meters by 3.66 is dated between 1550 and 1580. Its frame was made by Jacques Verbeckt.
While The Apotheosis of Hercules dominates the ceiling: Francois Lemoine completed this masterpiece in 1736, are composed of 142 characters and are the largest ceiling painting on canvas in Europe. No wonder that the inauguration of the canvas, Lemoine was appointed first painter to the king. It was however the last project of art of this painter who commit suicide shortly after. This painting depicts Hercules, the hero who rises to the sky near the gods.
Hercules, therefore, son of Jupiter and Alcimène, shows its strength, being just a few months old, strangling the serpents sent by Juno to kill him by jealousy against Alcimène.
Juno wont stop there and leads Hercules to madness and delusion, bringing him even to kill his unique children and, to atone for this crime to serve a king who orders him to accomplish 12 impossible works. Obviously he would all pass it through and Hercules is still judged for it as a symbol of strength and energy. The surname given to the monarch, ”Le Roi Soleil”, was given to him when he was dressed that way in a ballet created by J-B Lully.
Not surprising that Louis XIV himself was associated with the sun! And to Apollo, gods of the arts. The Greeks and Romans mythology went back in fashion in art for the pleasure of the king, while Archaeological digs are prevalent throughout all the 18th century. It is all precursor of neoclassical and Napoleonic Empire where women are trying to resemble the Greek statues, even to risk the pneumonia and not hesitating to drop their robes of silk cloth to look like these statues!
That room saw great events happening under it’s wing, like the great dress ball of January 26th, 1739, for the wedding of the oldest dauther of LouisXV with the Spanish Infant. Also some larges covered suppers happended there, like in 1769, for the marriage of the Duke of Chartres, then in 1782 for the birth of the Dauphin. The room also received the ambassadors of Tippoo Sahib in 1788 and the Sultan of Mysore the same year. There also Louis XVI signed a decree proclaming his fidelity in october 6th, 1789, to the National Assembly.66.Les appartements du roi: Salon de l’abondance.
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