The first Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Rastatt Residential Palace

Entrance hall with staircase to the antesala, Rastatt Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
THE ENTRANCE HALL

GROUND FLOOR AND

STAIRCASE

What lies hidden behind the palace portal? The front hall, the garden hall with its playful stucco and both sweeping staircases. Guests ascended these stairs three hundred years ago, accompanied by representations of Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm's deeds.

View of the garden hall with Rococo stucco, Rastatt Residential Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

The garden hall with Rococo stucco.

FRONT HALL AND GARDEN HALL

The central rooms on the ground floor—the front hall and the garden hall—were decorated with Baroque stucco by Giovanni Battista Artario. The garden hall, however, has changed—the result of Ludwig Wilhelm's impatience! The margrave wanted to have his palace completed as quickly as possible and the architect, Rossi, was forced to use damp lumber. The once flat ceiling became damaged. Rossi's successor, Michael Ludwig Rohrer, repaired the damage by building a brick arch. After 1747, Johannes Schütz decorated it with Rococo stucco.

REPRESENTATION ON THE STAIRCASE

The glorification of the master of the house begins on the staircases, as this is where the reception ceremonial began for high-ranking guests. On the north staircase, Ludwig Wilhelm is represented in a stucco medallion. He confidently placed himself among famous generals from history: Cesar and Scipio from Antiquity, and in recent past Wallenstein (1583–1634), who temporarily led the Imperial Army during the Thirty Years' War.

Stucco likeness of Wallenstein. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown
Stucco likeness of Julius Cesar. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown
Stucco likeness of Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Medallions with likenesses of Wallenstein, Julius Cesar and Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm.

Ceiling fresco over the south staircase: The Fall of Phaeton, Paolo Manni, circa 1700. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

The ceiling depicts the Fall of Phaeton.

A VERY SPECIAL CEILING

Rossi employed an appealing design for the ceilings of both staircases: An oval opening reveals the ceiling fresco in the story above. The fresco on the south staircase depicts the Fall of Phaeton. He is unable to control Apollo's chariot of the sun, a direct reference to the Sun King, Louis XIV. Louis XIV was considered an irresponsible ruler due to the burning of areas along the Upper Rhine during the Nine Years' War, between 1688 and 1697, in marked contrast to Ludwig Wilhelm, as illustrated in the paintings and stucco.

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