GABRIEL, Ange-Jacques
(b. 1698, Paris, d. 1782, Paris)

Interior view

Court Opera House, Versailles

Hardouin-Mansart's chapel in Versailles had been inaugurated not long before Louis XIV's death; similarly, the palace's final missing element - a theater - would be inaugurated not long before Louis XV died. It was in 1770 that a theater was finally completed, an accomplished ensemble designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in consultation with Louis XV. The orchestra was placed in a rectangular space adorned with a set of heavy, colossal Corinthian columns; the rest of the hall was a half-oval whose curves harboured the boxes, topped on the third level by in Ionic colonnade, with large mirrors on the back wall reelecting the sparkle of the chandeliers. The seats were upholstered in blue velvet, there was gilding everywhere, and discreet reliefs by Augustin Pajou adorned the balustrades of the loges. The green faux-marble on the walls were offset by columns of high quality marble from the Pyrenees. It was a masterpiece of court art.

The photo shows the upper balcony of the Opera House.