ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tiepolo and the Wurzburger Residenz

Updated on February 26, 2013
The Wurzburg Residence, palace of the Prince-bishop, and gardens.
The Wurzburg Residence, palace of the Prince-bishop, and gardens. | Source

Wurzburger Residenz

The Wurzburger Residenz or Wurzburg Residence is the Prince-bishop palace located in downtown Wurzburg, Germany in the state of northern Bavaria. From the middle ages forward, Wurzburg was ruled by a Prince-bishop and this particular palace in Germany is one of the most spectacular for two reasons: the Baroque architecture style and the painted frescos inside. The splendor of the architecture fused with the airy and light frescos brings about the fusion of reality and illusion all at the same time.

The Residenz was commissioned by the Prince-bishop of Wurzburg at the time (1720), Johann Philipp Franz von Schonborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schonborn. It was completed in 1744. The principal architect was Balthasar Neumann, who was the architect for the court of the Bishop of Wurzburg. He was assisted by several other architects, Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and Maximillan von Welsch who brought with them the Austrian and Southern Germany Baroque style. Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand were brought in as they were followers of the French style.

Prince-bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schonborn (1719-1724) moved the court from the Marienberg Fortress on the hill to the newly erected palace, The Residenz, and the prince-bishops of Wurzburg resided there from then on throughout history,

The great interiors of the Residenz include the Treppenhaus (the grand staircase), the Hofkirche (the chapel) and the Kaisersaal (the grand salon). Decorating the ceilings and walls are the frescos of the great Venetian artist, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, assisted by his sons, Domenico and Lorenzo.

Scholars and art historians have called Tiepolo "the greatest decorative painter of the 18th century Europe, as well as its most able craftsman." Frescos by Tiepolo and his sons decorated the grand salon (1752-52) and the ceiling above the grand staircase (1752-1753).

Front entrance of the Wurzburg Residence.
Front entrance of the Wurzburg Residence. | Source
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.  (1696-1770
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. (1696-1770 | Source

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

Heralded as the last great Venetian painter from Italy, Tiepolo was an Italian painter and printmaker. His works became famous all over Europe and his reputation was greatly established and, therefore, he worked extensively in Italy, Germany and Spain during his lifetime. He was commissioned by the Prince-bishop of Wurzburg at the time, Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau, to decorate the inside of the Residenz. He traveled to Wurzburg in 1750 and stayed three years to paint the frescos on the ceilings and walls in the Residenz. He frescoed the ceiling above the Treppenhaus (the grand staircase) and the ceiling in the Kaisersaal (the grand salon) in collaboration with his sons.

Tiepolo also designed and painted the grandiose entrance staircase of the Residenz. The massive ceiling fresco over the staircase was 7,287 sq ft. and completed in November 1753. It is called "The Allegory of the Planets and Continents" and depicts Apollo embarking on his daily course. Deities surround him and symbolize the planets and the allegorical figures respresent the four continents.

He included several portraits in the Europe section of this fresco, including a self-portrait; a portrait of one of his sons, Domenico; a portrait of the Prince-bishop von Greiffenklau; and one of the architect, Balthasar Neumann. He also included a portrait of the painter Antonio Bosse.

Tiepolo returned to Venice, Italy in 1753 when he completed his frescos in the Residenz.

The Treppenhaus, (grand staircase) in the Wurzburg Residence.
The Treppenhaus, (grand staircase) in the Wurzburg Residence. | Source
Apollo bringing Beatrice across the heavens to Friederick.  Fresco by Tiepolo in the grand salon of the Wurzburg Residence.
Apollo bringing Beatrice across the heavens to Friederick. Fresco by Tiepolo in the grand salon of the Wurzburg Residence. | Source
The marriage of Beatrice and the Emperor Friederick Barbossa.  Fresco by Tiepolo.
The marriage of Beatrice and the Emperor Friederick Barbossa. Fresco by Tiepolo. | Source

Tiepolo, his frescos, and The Residenz

Art historians have deemed Tiepolo's frescos and paintings in the Wurburger Residenz one of the superior achievements of 18th century art. The first of his frescos was painted above the Kaisersaal (the grand salon) and is the blending of the elements of marble, gold, stucco and glass that come together with color, light and the fluency of Tiepolo's paintings to create Gesamtkunstwerk, which in German means the union of the total arts. This room is one of Neumann's and Tiepolo's greatest achievements. The ceiling of the Kaisersaal depicts incidents from the life of Emperor Friederick Barbossa, who had invested the Bishop of Wurzburg in 1168.

Tiepolo's interpretation of the event transports the action into the 16th century and into the Venetian costume of the Veronese. It is incandescent with the light. It shows Apollo bringing the bride, Beatrice across the heavens in a triumphal chariot to her husband-to-be, Friedrick. This is the grand fresco created and a magnificent painting for the grand salon.

On the ceiling above the Treppenhaus (grand stairway), Tiepolo painted Olympus with the four quarters or continents of the Earth and painted it quite luminous.

In the 1750's, Tiepolo's art was at his most mature and was the embodiment of Baroque fresco, quite inventive yet controlled and disposed with crystal clarity. His paintings on the ceilings and walls of The Residenz fused illusion with reality as the architectural structure automatically lifts the eyes to his frescos. The airy lightness of the fescos illuminates the entire room and the staircase.

Tiepolo's genius is brought out in these frescos because it is a type of painting that requires fast working over great vast areas of The Residenz. The painting must be done quickly before the plaster dries. His frescos are characteristic of a high tonal key within which he could even make his shadows glow with light.

Tiepolo's frescos in The Residenz are joyful and radiant. The overwhelming impact of his art is its heart and soul lifting color and light.

Neumann's architecture and Tiepolo's frescos brought together make this palace one of the most beautiful in Germany and all of Europe for that matter. The frescos and architecture here even outshines Neuschwanstein in southern Bavaria.

Today, you can tour The Residenz both inside, to view the magnificent architecture and frescos and, of course, outside to tour the beautiful gardens. Each June, The Residenz is the host to the month long Wurzburg Mozart Fest. Concerts are given both outside in the gardens and inside the grand salon. Here visitors' senses are aroused by the combination of the magnificence of Mozart's music, the Baroque designs of Neumann's architecture and the beauty and light of Tiepolo's frescos. It is an experience to behold.

Source: Piper, David. The Illustrated History of Art. Octopus Publishing Group Lmt., London, England (1981). 2004 Edition.

Copyright (c) 2013 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved

Fresco by Tiepolo in the Wurzburg Residence.
Fresco by Tiepolo in the Wurzburg Residence. | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Glimmer: Oh, you have been to Wurzburg. Isn't it a lovely city? It is by far my favorite place in Europe and I treasure the memories of when I lived there. I sometimes actually get homesick for it. The Residenz is my favorite place in the city and I used to attend the Mozart Fest in June. I always sat out in the gardens and listened to the orchestra/symphony. What a wonderful time!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Faith: by all means make a trip to Wurzburg at some point. It is always good to see where you came from! lol. Wurzburg is such an elegant city and you will be surprised by all the art and cultural items there. The Markplatz is the center of town and is beautiful. There is a veggie market every Saturday morning 8 am. The stores and shops that surround the Markplatz are really lovely. Of course, you want to see the Residenz, and there is the castle on the hill, I can't remember the name just now (senior moment!) and the Kapelle the darling chapel, also on the hill. The beer and wine gardens are fun and Wurzburg is in the Franken wine region so there are hills and hills of vineyards in and around the city. A cruise down the Main River is a must also, especially in the evening as to see the city with all the lights on. With you beautiful blonde hair you will fit right in and you do look German! The base is now closed but you can see where it was and you will recognize the military housing. lol Wurzburg, of course, is my favorite city in all of Germany. And I do treasure my memories from there. You need to go and make some memories in Wurzburg now!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Wurzburg is such a beautiful place to visit and the gardens of the palace are delightful. I would love to go back sometimes.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, suzette, it is such a small world. I hope to travel back to the place of my birth, being I do not remember a thing after leaving there at the age of two, as my dad was in the military and time to come back to the US. It sounds wonderful. I have some photos, but that is not the same as actually having remembered being there or being there now! I know you cherish those times from the 80's!

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      I know!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thank you so much Eddy. I lived in Wurzburg, Germany for a year. I taught at the American High School. I was able to visit the Residenz many times during my time there. It is gorgeous. Thanks so much for commenting!

    • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette Walker 

      5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Faith: Thank you so much for reading this and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. What a small world!!! I taught at Wurzburg American High School at Leighton Barracks in the 80's. I loved it and I loved living in Germany. I had to pinch myself every morning when I woke up and think 'I'm living in Germany!' It was a great experience and I'm so happy to hear you were born there. I have been to Bamberg many times - it is such a picturesque town. There is so much beauty in Germany. Your comments are much appreciated!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Meant to say Bamberg, where my brother was born.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      5 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant read and your obvious hard work has certainly paid off here.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Oh my goodness, how beautiful and wonderful, as Wurzberg, Germany is where I was born! My dad was stationed in Germany in the military back then. My mother flew over there when she was pregnant with me. My brother was also born there, but in Bambergy, German. My mother said she looked outside the hospital window and there was a castle up on the hill. We left Germany when I was only two years old, so, of course, I do not remember anything. I do have some photos though. Thanks for taking me back in time to the place of my birth! Maybe one day I'll get to visit again.

      Excellent hub here.

      Voted way up ++++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)