On Mirrors

During our discussion of the bourgeois during the French Revolution, the subject of mirrors was brought up in relation to the affluent lifestyle the bourgeois lived. Such an example is Marie Antoinette’s “Hall of Mirrors”, a room housing 587 mirrors alongside decadent tapestries and beautiful chandeliers. The cost of mirrors ranged from several hundred dollars, to several thousand dollars. Because of such a high cost, mirrors were generally accessible to only the wealthiest in Europe. One of the reasons for the excessive bourgeois use of mirrors during the 17th century have been a result of Louis XIV’s 1689 decree that all private silver be confiscated to melt into coins to pay for military campaigns. This mean the wealthy had to give up their jewelry and other decorations. In light of such a loss, it is thought that mirrors became the replacement for such trinkets.  Additionally, mirrors provided additional lighting, and made rooms look bigger.




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