As you go through the entrance hall, immediately on your right is the gallery. It is a 90 foot long room that features three tapestries representing The Triumph of Virtue Over Vice. The decoration on the fireplaces, the stenciled ceiling, and the linen-fold paneling are all based on 16th-century style and gives the room a harmonious backdrop for the tapestries.
The Brussel tapestries are of special interest not just for their beauty, but they show the shift from the Gothic influence to that of the Renaissance. These three hangings were woven in the first quarter of the 16th century. The feeling is Gothic as is the evn distribution of pictorial areas over the entire work. However, the growing interest in form, perspective, and symmetrical balance show hints of the Renaissance style. They are full of Gothic symbolism, but the figures, which are taken from mythology, are typical of Renaissance.
The portrait over the door leading into the library is George W Vanderbilt, painted by John Singer Sargent, who was one of Vanderbilt's personal friends.
George Vanderbilt was a scholar in many fields, and had reading knowledge of eight languages. The library reflects this, as it contains over 10,000 volumes, while the entire book collection numbers over 23,000. The books, found throughout the house, reflect his broad interests. The shelves contain classic literature as well as works on art, history, architecture, and gardening.
The classical-baroque detailing of the room is enhanced by the rich walnut paneling and more carvings from Karl Bitter. Over the fireplace, he carved two figures representing Hestia, goddess of the hearth, and Demeter, goddess of the earth. He also carved the Vulcan and Venus andirons in the fireplace. The ceiling painting, The Chariot of Aurora, was brought to America by Vanderbilt from the Pisani palce in Venice. The canvas is by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini and is the most important work by the artist still in existence. Most of his other works were destroyed by the wars in Europe. By bringing this ceiling painting to America, Vanderbilt preserved a key work in the development of 18th-century Italian painting.
The Biltmore House is located about 60 miles from Cherokee Cabin. It is one of the most visited historical sites in America, and we definitely recommend a trip to Asheville during your stay at our cabin rental.