The first Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Rastatt Residential Palace

Visitors in the ancestral hall, Rastatt Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert
HEART OF THE BEL ÉTAGE (MAIN FLOOR)

ANTEROOM AND ANCESTRAL HALL

The antechamber to the ancestral hall is located at the top of the double staircase. From here, it's just a few steps to the ceremonial heart of Rastatt Residential Palace. The ancestral hall served as a ballroom and portrait gallery of royal ancestors.

Rastatt Residential Palace, stucco on the anteroom ceiling. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Elegant stucco in the anteroom

THE ANTEROOM TO THE ANCESTRAL HALL

The anteroom to the ancestral hall is bright, welcoming and adorned with elegant stucco. Baroque and Rococo décor merge in the tightest spaces here. 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, an often-repeated motif throughout the palace. The playful Rococo stucco, also seen in the garden room, was part of the modernization commissioned by Ludwig Georg in 1747.

Original Jupiter statue in the ancestral hall antechamber, Rastatt Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

The original Jupiter statue

JUPITER OR THE “GOLDEN MAN”

The original Jupiter with eagle statue is located in the anteroom to the ancestral hall. This gilded statue was created by 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 as protection against his enemies, represents Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm. His wife commissioned this monument to him long after his death. Since the beginning of the 20th century, a replica stands on the roof.

Rastatt Residential Palace, interior view of ancestral hall with several portraits. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Portraits in the ancestral hall depict ancestors of the margravial couple

CENTER OF THE PALACE: THE ANCESTRAL HALL

Architect Domenico Egidio Rossi created an impressive hall to host court celebrations and receptions. Above the reddish stucco marble pilaster strips are articles of war and three-dimensional figures which stuccoist Giovanni Battista Artario also created in the anteroom. Portraits on the walls depict ancestors of the margravial couple and include parents and grandparents from the houses of Baden and Sachsen-Lauenburg as well as other Baden ancestors.

Rastatt Residential Palace, ceiling fresco in the ancestral hall: Hercules ascends to Olympus, Giuseppe Roli, circa 1704. Image:  Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

The margrave saw himself as Hercules

HERCULES ON THE CEILING

Decorations in the ancestral hall glorify Ludwig Wilhelm as a ruler and war hero. The high point in the ceiling boasts a 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 becomes immortal. The concept behind it: Just as Hercules rescued the world from evil, so to the glorious war hero Ludwig Wilhelm rescued Christianity - a typical form of Baroque glorification, 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