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Five hundred years of Württemberg historyThe ancestral portrait gallery

The ancestral portrait gallery is one of the most imposing rooms at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace. The nearly eighty-meter-long hall makes an impression with its grand ceiling fresco by Carlo Carlone and more than 25 large-format portraits of Württemberg's rulers.

Ancestral portrait gallery at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

View inside the ancestral portrait gallery.

Representative hall richly decorated with paintings

The ancestral portrait gallery and the painting gallery were both constructed beginning in 1729 and designed as connecting structures between the older parts of the palace and the new central building. Instead of the originally planned simple, white-walled corridor, Duke Eberhard Ludwig decided on grand decor with stucco work and the largest and most lavish ceiling frescoes in the entire palace.

Detail of the ceiling fresco in the ancestral portrait gallery at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Duke Eberhard Ludwig's regime is glorified in the Baroque ceiling fresco.

Baroque ceiling, Classical design

The hall received its present-day appearance from King Friedrich I around 1806. He had the room renovated in the Classical style by his royal architect, Nikolaus Friedrich von Thouret. The Baroque wall decor was removed and replaced with red stucco marble. In order to highlight his family's seniority and importance, King Friedrich completed the line of ancestors who had ruled in Württemberg and unified the format and framing of the portraits.

Visitors in the ancestral portrait gallery at Ludwigsburg Residential Palace

Face to face with Württemberg's rulers.

Honoring many gentlemen, little room for ladies

The portraits of the rulers in the ancestral portrait gallery trace the family tree of the House of Württemberg back to the late Middle Ages. All ruling dukes and kings are represented: from Duke Eberhard the Bearded, the first Duke of Württemberg, to King Wilhelm II, who abdicated in 1918 after the end of the monarchy. Wives were only honored with a portrait in the ancestral portrait gallery if they had contributed to the preservation of the dynasty by giving birth to an heir to the throne.

King Karl, son of Pauline and Wilhelm
Queen Pauline, painting by Georg Friedrich Erhardt
King Wilhelm I, painting by Joseph Karl Stieler

The portrait of Queen Pauline was added to the ancestral portrait gallery because she gave birth to King Karl, heir to the throne.