king of bavaria

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    Linderhof Palace and the Venus Grotto

As I was getting my first couple of posts together I was running around Pinterest, where I am always guaranteed to get sidetracked, and came across this picture of The Venus Grotto (top right), and got sucked in to the Rococo magic that is Linderhof Palace and decided to post these instead.

    Despite being the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and being able to fit into Versailles (where clearly Ludwig drew his inspiration from) probably a billion times, it is certainly not lacking in incredible, elaborate detail. The Venus Grotto is actually entirely artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”. There are also 2 identical “Tapestry Chambers” that served absolutely no function, but still had equally as much work put into them (one is pictured bottom right). That bedroom though… I had seen pictures of this amazing creation before on a much smaller scale with filters that really took away from all of the details and then I found these and it took me a while to process all of it. The Rococo artistic movement was something else.

     Rococo is a style of architecture and decorative arts that evolved from the Baroque style in the mid-18th century distinguished by its curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation. Lots of foliage. very frivolous, very Louis XV, very modish.

Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of the most famous castles in the world. It was built by Bavarian King Ludwig II. Walt Disney copied it for his Disneyland amusement park and also uses it in the Disney films logo. The real castle gets 1.3 million visitors a year - high season being summer into fall with about 6,000 visitors a day. The castle features rich interiors with decor and art inspired by Wagner opera’s, fairytales, and legends with both Byzantine and the Romantic era architecture. 

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for our three-hundredth follower, a three-part haiku:

king ludwig the third

built some really cool castles.

hmm…maybe too cool.

“you’re spending too much,”

the german government said.

“we have to kill you.”

so then ludwig, two

hundred milly in debt, was

found dead in a lake.

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Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm), (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death. He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King (German). He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia. Ludwig spent all the royal revenues on these projects (though not state funds), borrowed extensively, and defied all attempts by his ministers to restrain him. This was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation which has been refuted in the meantime. His mysterious demise took place the very next day. Ludwig is generally well-regarded and even revered by many Bavarians today. His legacy of architecture and art includes many of Bavaria’s important tourist attractions.

Ludwig’s death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, but the official autopsy report indicated that no water was found in his lungs. Ludwig was a very strong swimmer in his youth, the water was approximately waist-deep where his body was found, and he had not expressed suicidal feelings during the crisis. Gudden’s body showed blows to the head and neck and signs of strangulation, leading to the suspicion that he was strangled by Ludwig although there is no evidence to prove this. Many hold that Ludwig was murdered by his enemies while attempting to escape from Berg. 

Ludwig’s remains were dressed in the regalia of the Order of Saint Hubert, and lay in state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace. In his right hand he held a posy of white jasmine picked for him by his cousin the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. After an elaborate funeral on 19 June 1886, Ludwig’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich. His heart, however, does not lie with the rest of his body. Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of Mercy) in Altötting, where it was placed beside those of his father and grandfather.

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Looming over the small Bavarian town of Hohenschwangau are the turrets and towers of one of the world’s most famous “fairytale” castles. Schloß Neuschwanstein, or “New Swan Stone Castle”, was the fantastical creation of King Ludwig II – a monarch who dreamed of creating for himself an ideal medieval palace, nestled in the Alps. Though designed to represent a 13th-century Romanesque castle, Neuschwanstein was a thoroughly 19th-century project, constructed using industrial methods and filled with modern comforts and conveniences; indeed, without the technological advancements of the time, Ludwig could never have escaped into his medieval fantasy.

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Das Schloss Linderhof is a palace in Bayern (Bavaria), Southern Germany, near the famous Ettal Abbey. It’s the smallest of the 3 palaces built by King Ludwig II and the only one he lived to see completed. Ludwig knew the area from his youth when he had accompanied his father King Maximilian II on his hunting trips in the Alps. When he became king in 1864 he inherited the so-called Königshäuschen - in 1869, he began enlarging it, then decided to tear it down and rebuild it on its present-day location in the park. 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 symbol of the sun, which can be found everywhere in the decor 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. The palace is surrounded by formal gardens that are subdivided into 5 section, decorated with allegoric sculptures of the continents, the seasons, and the elements.