The first Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Rastatt Residential Palace

Heart of the bel étage (main floor)

Anteroom and ancestral

portrait gallery

At the top end of the two staircases is the anteroom to the ancestral portrait gallery. From here, it's just a few steps to the ceremonial heart of Rastatt Palace. The ancestral portrait gallery served as a ballroom and gallery of royal ancestors.

Rastatt Residential Palace, Jupiter statue; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Elegant stucco in the anteroom.

The anteroom to the ancestral portrait gallery

The anteroom to the ancestral portrait gallery is bright, welcoming and adorned with elegant stucco. Baroque and Rococo décor merge together in impossibly tight spaces. The arched openings to the staircase depict trophies of war and figures of captive Turks – a reference to Ludwig Wilhelm's victories in the Turkish Wars which is repeated often in the palace. The playful Rococo stucco, also seen in the garden room, was part of the modernization commissioned by Ludwig Georg in 1747.

Rastatt Residential Palace, visitors; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

The original Jupiter statue.

The Jupiter or the “Golden Man”

In the anteroom to the ancestral portrait gallery is the original figure of Jupiter with the eagle. This gilded statue is the work of Augsburg goldsmith Johann Jakob Vogelhund. In 1723, Sibylla Augusta had the statue erected on the palace roof. The highest Roman god, armed with a bundle of lightning bolts to protect him against his enemies, symbolizes Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm. Long after his death, his wife commissioned this monument to him. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been a replica on the roof.

Rastatt Residential Palace, ancestral portrait gallery; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Portraits in the ancestral portrait gallery show ancestors of the margravial couple.

Centre of the palace: The ancestral portrait gallery

Architect Domenico Egidio Rossi created an impressive hall to host court celebrations and receptions. Above the pilasters, the reddish stucco marble wall projections, you can see war equipment and three-dimensional figures which the stucco plasterer Giovanni Battista Artario also created in the anteroom. Portraits on the walls depict the ancestors of the margravial couple. They include parents and grandparents from the houses of Baden and Sachsen-Lauenburg as well as other Baden ancestors.

Rastatt Residential Palace, ancestral portrait gallery; Photo:  Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

The margrave saw himself as Hercules.

Hercules on the ceiling

Decorations in the ancestral portrait gallery glorify Ludwig Wilhelm as a ruler and war hero. The high point in the ceiling is the fresco created in 1704 by artist Giuseppe Roli. The ancient hero Hercules, recognizable by his club, is transported to the realm of the gods by Jupiter and is therefore immortal. The thinking behind this: just as Hercules rescued the world from evil, so the glorious war hero Ludwig Wilhelm rescued Christianity – a typical form of Baroque glorifications, which everyone at that time would have understood.

TIPP

Look at the arches above Jupiter and Hercules – you can see the signs of the Zodiac there.

Other highlights of Rastatt Residential Palace