Friday, July 10, 2009

It's Good To Be The Prince Bishop!

Johann Philipp Franz von Schoenborn, Prince Bishop of Wuerzburg

While visions of pomp and circumstance with adoring peasants kissing their rings dance in some mitered heads, it was the Prince Bishops of Wuerzburg who set a lofty standard for episcopal and princely glory. Absolute spiritual and secular monarchs of Wuerzburg, the Schoenborn Prince Bishops spared no expense in proclaiming their own power and glory.

Here is the city of Wuerzburg in Germany, now part of Bavaria. The medieval cathedral is the double towered church on the right. The clock tower marks the rathaus (city hall).

Here is the Residence of the Prince Bishop of Wuerzburg. Napoleon called this the nicest parsonage in Europe.

Here is the forecourt and main entrance to the Bishop's Residence.

Here is the Garden Facade facing the acres of gardens and private parks.

This is the main staircase with frescoes on the ceiling by the great Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

This is the Prince Bishop's private chapel.

Here is the Kaisersaal where the Bishop received more-important-than-you guests. It was designed by the great Rococo architect Balthasar Neumann with frescoes by Tiepolo.

The ceiling of the Kaisersaal painted by Tiepolo.

After an exhausting day receiving visiting nobility, the Bishop could retire to this modest private chamber.

In 1945, Allied bombers blasted the hell out of this place. Most of the interior of the Residenz was consumed in flames. Amazingly, the staircase and Kaisersaal with Tiepolo's paintings survived relatively intact. Full restoration was not completed until the 1980s.

Nice place.

Maybe I should consider a career in the Church.


Lapinbizarre said...

When I was there in the early 60's, substantial portions of the palace were roofed but bare and unrestored. The staircase and the Kaisersaal were in fine shape. The older residence of the bishops is a castle, on a hill across the Main. Fans of the sadism thread of a few days back may note that it contains a well-equipped torture chamber.

The subject matter of much of Tiepolo's work is alien to the modern eye, but he is a wonderful artist with a superb sense of color, movement and composition. Thanks for posting these shots.

Counterlight said...

I love Tiepolo. I dearly wish that I had his facility with a brush.

A bishop keeping a torture chamber in his castle -- why am I not surprised?

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"von" is allways spellt with a "v" never with a "V"...

Only a Dutch "van" may be spellt with a "V" if it is the initial letter (e.g.Vanderbilt).

Counterlight said...

noted and corrected.

We Yanks don't have aristocrats. We only have oligarchs.