One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Das Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg von der Südseite; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ralf Cohen
An architectural genius from Italy

Donato Giuseppe

Frisoni

The Italian stuccoist Donato Giuseppe Frisoni (1683–1735) came to Ludwigsburg in 1709. After the unexpected death of architect Johann Friedrich Nette, he assumed management of the palace architecture in 1715 at Duke Eberhard Ludwig's express wish.

Visitors at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Works by artists from Upper Italy are everywhere.

Who was Donato Giuseppe Frisoni?

Donato Giuseppe Frisoni was from a family of artists in Upper Italy. After working as a stuccoist in Vienna, Passau and Prague, he was called to work on the Ludwigsburg palace construction site by building director Nette. The builder, Duke Eberhard Ludwig, valued the varied and fantastical stucco decor that Frisoni and his colleague, Tommaso Soldati, created in the old central building, the order building and the grand building.

Ceiling fresco with stucco relief in the satyr cabinet at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

A stuccoist completed the palace.

Can a stuccoist be an architect?

As a stuccoist, Frisoni did not possess any special architectural training. Nevertheless, Eberhard Ludwig named him director of the Ludwigsburg palace construction project, against the wishes of the building committee. He completed the three-winged building that had been planned by his predecessor and developed several other projects to expand the palace. Between 1726 and 1733, his plans were used to build the new central building, two connecting galleries, and two pavilions as well as a new garden.

Federzeichnung von Donato Giuseppe Frisoni mit einem Entwurf für den Schlossbau; Scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg

A "design for a new corps de logis with a central double-barreled staircase" created by Donato Giuseppe Frisoni that was not implemented.

View from the royal stables tower to the south, across the wood market to the marketplace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Sven Grenzemann

A Baroque model city.

How did Ludwigsburg come by its southern flair?

Frisoni is responsible for the residential palace's final appearance. He also characterized the face of the city, on which construction began in 1715, based on a model created by him. Its symmetrical layout, the perfectly straight avenues, the uniform house facades, and the marketplace surrounded by arched arcades epitomize Ludwigsburg as an ideal Baroque city. Frisoni employed Italian craftsmen and artists almost exclusively in his construction projects.

Why did the architect go to jail?

As the royal building director, Frisoni and his brother-in-law, builder Paolo Retti, were two of the most influential and wealthiest citizens in Ludwigsburg. After Duke Eberhard Ludwig's death, both were arrested for alleged fraud. Frisoni died in Ludwigsburg in 1735, only a few months after being acquitted.

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