Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's Frescoes at Wurzburg Residenz Now Restored and on View

View of the ceiling of the Imperial Hall in the Wurzburg Residenz. After more than two years the frescoes painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo have been restored

The Imperial Hall at Warzburg Residenz has reopened its doors to show the newly restored frescoes painted by Tiepolo. After more than two years the frescoes can now be admired inside the 410 meter square hall which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Würzburg Residenz (Residence) is a palace in Würzburg, Germany. It was designed by several of the leading Baroque architects. Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and Maximilian von Welsch, leading representants of the Austrian/South German Baroque were involved as well as Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand, who were prominent architects of the French Style. Balthasar Neumann, architect of the court of the bishop of Würzburg, was the principal architect of the Residenz, which was commissioned by the prince bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn in 1720 and was completed in 1744.

The Building
The Building was constructed on a baseplate of 97 x 167 meters. The Resdenz is arranged around several courts. On town side a court d´honneur is omitted. This makes the Residenz of Würzburg a compromise between a three winged building like the manor-house of Weißenstein at Pommersfelden or a town residence, arranged around courts to be seen in Munich or Vienna. The residence has almost 400 rooms. Most parts of the residence are occupied by a museum and organizations of the University of Würzburg. Originally, the court of honor was limited by an iron enclosure, a masterpiece of ironworks was demolished in 1821, because the inhabitant, a member of the family of the Bavarian king did not like them.

The Staircase
In Baroque a staircase gained in importance as a formal reception room. The staircase of the Würzburg residence It’s vault spans an area of 18×30 meters, without being pillared. supported by Beneath an unsupported trough vault, a masterpiece of construction with a maximum height of 23 meters which spans an area of 18 x 30 meters. The Venician painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo decorated the vault with a fresco, showing paintings of the four continents Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Each continent is represented by a typical landscape and animals (or the painter’s vision of these animals) and a female figure. Court architect Balthasar Neumann had to fight concerns, concerning the dangers of such an enormous Vault. Contrary to the vault with its colors, the stairs and the walls have almost no decoration at all. While the vault is decorated in the style of Baroque, the rest of the staircase is already decorated in the following style of classicism.

The White Hall
The White Hall in Neo-Classical style is dominated by the stucco decorations of Antonio Bossi. The white stucco works on a light gray background are composed of a large quantity of rocailles, a typical piece of decoration of the baroque style, mixed with images of real items, especially of military purpose.

The Imperial Hall
The walls of the Imperial Hall consist of stucco work marble in shades of red, white and yellow. The dome is painted in white color, decorated with golden stucco work and pictures by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, showing the history of the diocese of Würzburg. One picture shows the marriage of Emperor Fredrick I Barbarossa and princess Beatrix of Burgundy, consecrated by a bishop of Würzburg. The opposite picture shows emperor Fredrick II appointing the bishop of Würzburg duke of Frankonia. On top of the dome a painting shows Beatrix, striving towards Fredrick II, who is accompanied by the bishop of Würzburg.

The Southern and Northern Apartments
The impact of both apartments is generated by a sequence of rooms on which the following is always more decorated than the precedent.

The most decorated room of the Southern Apartment is the Mirror Cabinet. Its walls consist entirely of glass panels, decorated on the back, using either by paintings or drawings, engraved into a gold ground and then underlaid with dark gloss paint. All the paintings and drawings showed oriental, especially Chinese scenes.

Highlight of the Northern Apartment is the Green Lacquered Room. Its walls are decorated with several layers of painting, constructing a metallic green color, decorated with paintings a golden ornaments.

The Court Chapel (Hofkirche)
The Court Chapel is an exemplary performance of the sacral Baroque style in Germany. The interior design is dominated by the curving walls and three intergradient oval dome vaults.

The Court Garden
The Residenz was built within the fortified town. Therefore the garden too had to be planned within the fortifications. The solution included two bastions of the fortified town wall, using it’s differences in height to create very special landscape. From west to east there is a rise in ground, until the level of the wall is reached. Near the residence itself, the garden is designed in a very formal, baroque style. Further away, the style changes to an English garden with small forests and meadows.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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