Friday, August 12, 2016

Nymphenburg Palace and Garden - Munich Germany

The baroque palace in the west part of Munich was the summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs. Five generations of Wittelsbach rulers were involved in the construction of this stately ensemble, which houses several outstanding collections.

With its lavishly decorated interior and the famous "Gallery of Beauties" commissioned by Ludwig I, the palace is one of Munich's favorite attractions. Among the highlights are the former bedroom of King Ludwig II and the impressive banquet hall with fine ceiling frescoes by Johann Baptist Zimmermann.
 The palace houses the Naturkundemuseum Mensch und Natur (“Museum of Man and Nature”), the Porzellanmuseum (“Porcelain Museum”) for the on-site porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg, and the Marstallmuseum in it’s wings.

In the expansive palace park, visitors can discover numerous other smaller attractions: In addition to the Badenburg, Pagodenburg, and Amalienburg summer residences as well as the Magdalenenklause hermitage, the 299-hectare-large landscape garden also offers additional architectural gems, hidden sculptures, and picturesque streams and lakes.
The palace was commissioned by the prince-electoral couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to the designs of the Italian architect Agostino Barelli in 1664 after the birth of their son Maximilian II Emanuel. The central pavilion was completed in 1675. As a building material it utilised limestone from Kelheim. The castle was gradually expanded and transformed over the years.
Starting in 1701, Max Emanuel, the heir to Bavaria, a sovereign electorate of the Holy Roman Empire, undertook a systematic extension of the palace. Two pavilions were added each in the south and north of Barelli's palace by Enrico Zucalli and Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. In 1716 Joseph Effner redesigned the facade of the centre pavilion in French Baroque style with pilasters. Later, the south section of the palace was further extended to form the court stables.

The Gardens
The 200-hectare (490-acre) park, once an Italian garden (1671), which was enlarged and rearranged in French style by Dominique Girard, a pupil of Le Notre, was finally redone in the English manner during the early 19th century by Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, on behalf of prince-elector Charles Theodore.

It was only in the period from 1715 that decisive constructional work was carried out to turn the palace and gardens into the Baroque highlight of ubiquitous fame. Nymphenburg Park was completed based on a design by Dominique Girard and the cooperation of Joseph Effner. Axial-symmetrical designed gardens with an elaborate parterre with hedged areas bordering on both sides, featuring facilities intended for the amusement of the court, were created in front of the west side of the palace.
In juxtaposition to this designed section of the gardens, was an extensive forest-like park, dominated by a central-axial canal and divided by numerous avenues and perspective axes. Located here in symmetrical arrangement, were also the pavilion-style park palaces Badenburg and Pagodenburg with their regular gardens, the hermitage Magdalenenklause as an artificial ruin, and the Amalienburg erected 1731-39.

 In the year 1800, the Bavarian Elector Max IV Joseph commissioned the reshaping of the palace park. Unaffected by this, were only the central-axial parts of the Baroque gardens, i.e. the parterre near the palace reduced to its basic structure, the canal with the avenues on both sides and the cascade.

Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, leading garden artist of his time, carried out re-landscaping of the grounds of Nymphenburg between 1804 and 1823. He replaced the original regular beds and hedged areas with natural-looking design elements, a selection of trees and shrubs arranged to grow as nature intended, meadows with moulded surface levels and artfully contoured woodland borders, lakes and brooks with banks and islands shaped true to nature, and elegantly winding paths.
 Sckell thereby created stimulating landscape scenery, which integrated the Baroque pavilions as effectively as the classical Monopteros by the Great Lake erected in 1865, to replace two earlier wooden constructions.

In Nymphenburg, Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell succeeded in creating a classical landscape garden, whose special charm lay in the continuation of characteristic features of the gardens originating from previous and fundamentally different stylistic epochs. The grounds have remained virtually unchanged in their basic structure until today.

Conservation and restoration measures are necessary to ensure the appropriate effect is created, display to its best advantage the original substance still remaining and project the original artistic ideas.

The park section within the walls covers an area of around 180 hectares. The whole Nymphenburg complex with the crescent and the canal on the town side and the green areas west of the park wall totals around 229 hectares. This is divided up as follows:
  • Trees 158 hectares
  • Meadows and lawns 32 hectares
  • Water 20 hectares
  • Paths and squares 19 hectares
There are in addition 4.5 hectares of hedges of varying heights, tub plants and beds of annuals in front of the greenhouses and in the parterre and cour d'honneur, for which almost 140,000 spring and summer plants are grown every year in the park's own nursery.
 The large fountains in the Nymphenburg Palace Park not only give pleasure to visitors: they also represent a landmark in Bavarian technological history. The cast iron pumps with which the fountains have been operated for over 200 years already ranked as masterpieces at the time when they were built.
In 1803 Joseph von Baader, one of the most important engineers of his day, was commissioned by Elector Max IV Joseph to replace the Baroque pump system of 1767 in the Green Pump House, and installed a more efficient machine of his own invention.

It is the oldest machine in Europe that has been working continuously ever since it was built and is considered a milestone of engineering. In 1808 Baader also installed a larger machine in the Johannis Pump House for the fountain in front of the palace.

The two "hydraulic" pump systems in the Green Pump House were not only more efficient than any before them, but being made of metal they were also quiet. Even in the 18th century there had been complaints about the creaking of the wooden pumps. Operating on the gravity principle, Baader’s machines also save energy in accordance with modern ecological principles.

Von Sckell was also the creator of the English Garden in Munich. He preserved the main elements of the Baroque garden (such as the "Grand Parterre"). The park is bisected by the long western canal along the principal axis which leads from the palace to the marble cascade (decorated with stone figures of Greek and Roman gods) in the west.
The garden parterre is still a visible feature of the French garden. As part of the transformation of the entire castle grounds by Sckell it was simplified, but retained its original size. The "Grand Cascade" was built by Joseph Effner in 1717. He was referring to a concept of François Roëttiers. The water falls in the middle of a two-part water staircase, the first stage being half round to the west, the second, deeper, is formed to the east. The cascade consists of symmetry which continues through the centre channel.
The right side of the cataract was covered with pink marble in 1770. Originally a supporting architecture was to be provided, which was never executed. Instead, from 1775 to 1785, sculptures were added. Many were the work of Dominik Auliczek and Roman Anton Boos, who later added twelve decorative marble vases with mythological themes.

The canals of Nymphenburg are part of the northern Munich channel system, a system of waterways that connected also to the complex of Schleissheim Palace. The endpoint of the eastern canal leading from the city to the palace forms the Cour d'honneur, the centre was designed by Effner as a water parterre with a fountain, cascade and branching canals on both sides.
The driveway ("Auffahrtsallee") from the city on both sides of the eastern canal is framed by a semicircle of smaller baroque buildings ("Kavalierhäuser") at the Cour d'honneur. The eastern endpoint of the canal is the Hubertusbrunnen (1903, by Adolf von Hildebrand).

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