One of the largest Baroque palaces in Germany

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Blick vom Neuen auf den Alten Hauptbau; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ralf Cohen
Textbook stylistics

History of design

Ludwigsburg Residential Palace still shows some characteristics of its original Baroque shape. Other sections changed significantly. The palace architecture and interior design were characterized by three consecutive stylistic eras, all within barely 100 years: the Baroque, the Rococo and Classicism.

Staircase in the grand building at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Baroque dimensions.

An example of Baroque palace architecture

The entire Ludwigsburg Residential Palace complex was built in the 17th-century Bohemian-Austrian architectural style (Czech Baroque), with influences from Italian artists. The old central building is a typical example, which was originally planned as a hunting lodge and pleasure palace, with casually arranged wings, pavilions and galleries. The staircase in the grand building, which was designed by Johann Friedrich Nette starting in 1713, was inspired by Viennese examples, such as the architecture of the emperor's royal architect, Fischer von Erlach.

Toilette in the new central building with wall decor by Joseph Maximilian Pöckhl at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Splendid strapwork.

Late Baroque wall decoration

The late Baroque decor style is characterized by strapwork, a unique type of ornamentation consisting of curving ribbons intertwined with each other. The wall decorations and the ceiling stucco in the ducal bedroom in the new central building or the gaming and hunting pavilions of the old central building are a beautiful example of this style. The gilded carvings on the wall paneling were created by the Bavarian carver, Joseph Maximilian Pöckhl around 1731.

Duke Carl Eugen's second antechamber at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Cheerful Rococo lightness.

Rococo fantasy and exoticism

Unlike the heavy Baroque style, the Rococo style is characterized by cheerful lightness. The style takes its name from the French "Rocaille," an asymmetrical seashell-shaped ornamentation. It can be seen throughout the stucco decor, the paneling and in the furniture of the period. The stucco decoration in Duke Carl Eugen's apartment on the third floor of the new central building offers an especially beautiful example, created in 1759 by Giovanni Brilli.

View of the royal library with cabinets by J. F. Klinkerfuß, circa 1809. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Jäger

Strict structure, even for furniture.

Classicism: a style of clean lines

Stark and straight lines characterize Classicism, the style that replaced Rococo. Structures and interiors followed the clear architectural arrangement inspired by Antiquity, as did furniture and decor. An excellent example can be found in the new central building in the king's library. Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret designed the room for Friedrich I in 1809 and it is lined on all sides with mahogany bookcases, elegantly patterned with pilasters and gables.

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