Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Linderhof Palace (German: Schloss Linderhof) is a palace in Germany, near Oberammergau in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one of which he lived to see completion.
Although Linderhof is much smaller than Versailles, it is evident that the palace of the French Sun-King Louis XIV (who was an idol for Ludwig) was its inspiration. The staircase, for example, is a reduction of the famous Ambassador's staircase in Versailles, which would be copied in full in Herrenchiemsee. The symbol of the sun that can be found everywhere in the decoration of the rooms represents the French notion of absolutism that, for Ludwig, was the perfect incorporation of his ideal of a God-given monarchy with total royal power. Such a monarchy could no longer be realised in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, taking picture of the interior of the palace is prohibited.
The bedroom was important to the ceremonial life of an absolute monarch; Louis XIV of France used to give his first (léver) and last audience (coucher) of the day in his bedchamber. In imitation of Versailles, the bedroom is the largest chamber of Linderhof Palace. By facing north, however, the Linderhof bedroom inverts the symbolism of its Versailles counterpart, showing Ludwig's self-image as a "Night-King."
The location of the palace near Ettal Abbey again presents another interesting point. Because of its architecture Ludwig saw the church of the monastery as the room where the holy grail was preserved. This fact connects the idea of a baroque palace to the one of a "medieval" castle such as Neuschwanstein and reminds of the operas of Richard Wagner whose patron Ludwig was.
The gardens surrounding Linderhof Palace are considered one of the most beautiful creations of historicist garden design. The park combines formal elements of Baroque style or Italian Renaissance gardens with landscaped sections that are similar to the English garden.
We only stepped into the formal gardens.
The palace is surrounded by formal gardens that are subdivided into five sections that are decorated with allegoric sculptures of the continents, the seasons and the elements:
The northern part is characterized by a cascade of thirty marble steps. The bottom end of the cascade is formed by the Neptune fountain and on top of it there is a Music Pavilion.
The centre of the western parterre is formed by basin with the gilt figure of "Fama". In the west there is a pavilion with the bust of Louis XIV. In front of it you see a fountain with the gilt sculpture "Amor with dolphins". The garden is decorated with four majolica vases.
The crowning of the eastern parterre is a wooden pavilion containing the bust of Louis XVI. 24 steps below it there is a fountain basin with a gilt sculpture "Amor shooting an arrow". A sculpture of "Venus and Adonis" is placed between the basin and the palace.