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One tourists approach the palace, its small size is offset by the glamour of the southern gardens.
As we see from this map, the gardens sprawl in perfect symmetry -- a bit of a challenge in the Alps. They've been aligned along a narrow valley.
Let;s first look at the pool, two terraced gardens, and the pavilion (labeled 15) in this picture which climb the hill south of the palace.
From the palace, the eye is led through the southern terrace gardens, up the Alpine foothills, and to the kiosk (at center top) dedicated to the Goddess of Love.
Note the symmetry is broken by the lone tree at right. It's now a 300 year old lime tree ("linde" in German) which gives Schloss Linderhof its name. Ludwig, a bit of a tree-hugger before his time, had his landscape architect spare that tree.
Let's start at the top and walk back towards the palace. Here a classical porch is surrounded by Corinthian columns. The original garden plans called for a theater here. We'll see the real theater (also named for Venus) in a few more slides.
Here mad Ludwig pays homage to the classical myths often depicted in the Renaissance and Rococo periods. Most of his building, however, was inspired by German, rather than classical, mythology. Perhaps we have his muse, the operatic compose Richard Wagner, to thank for that. This statue is based upon a painting by Antoine Watteau who breathed life into the dying Rococo.
This view taken from the Venus pavilion shows how well the landscape architect integrated the gardens with the natural flow of his Alpine setting. The Italian Renaissance garden spreads its symmetrical wings just below.
The mountain's ascent has been terraced into separate gardens. Here's the upper garden.
Here's a side view of the upper garden on the southern side. The overall design of the several gardens here was done by Carl von Effner whose family had been designing landscapes for the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty for nearly 250 years.
From the palace, the most impressive part of the garden is the huge pool -- especially when its 70 foot plume spouts. Here we look up the hill toward the Venice pavilion.
The opposite view, this one looking North towards the palace which seems (and, in fact, is) quite small -- at least for a mad Ludwig presentation.
Note the perfect symmetry here -- except for the 300 year old lime tree at the right. It was here when the landscape architect planed the site and King Ludwig (a tree hugger of sorts long before his time) insisted that it be kept here. In Ludwig's day, there was a seat in the tree.
The fountain splashes over the gilded statue of Flora, the goddess of spring and flowers. During the Renaissance, she achieved more popularity than she ever had in antiquity.
Like any good Baroque statue, Flora is assisted by those winged urchins known as putti.
The fountain does not run on pumped water; instead, the mountains are so steep that water flow is sufficient to create thrust sufficient to drive water over 70 feet into the air.
The terraces and their stairs sport several zinc vases and urns with elaborate decoration.
Visitors pass Flora's pool and climb steps to reach the first terrace where they are greeted by the Naiad fountain which includes a central basin held aloft by these water nymphs. The naiads were fresh water mermaids that needed spring water flowing over them to keep them alive.
Ludwig II's father, Maximilian II, had used the property for hunting. Ludwig at first expanded the lodge but eventually tore it down so as to make room for this rococo gem which he built between 1863 to 1886.
Inside the palace is Versailles inspired as well -- with a reduced Ambassador's staircase and Hall of Mirrors.
Ludwig's fathers hunting lodge which had occupied this site was moved about 200 meters and replaced, in stages, by this almost human sized rococo palace.
Below we see the poles which define the visitors' queue in front of the palace which faces south. This building is roughly square -- a 100 feet on the side. That makes it about twice as big as the McMansions the American middle class buys in its bedroom suburbs.
Here's another view that shows more of the western facade which we will see with its garden in a minute. Ludwig expanded his bedroom to the north, making it the largest room and the center of this complex.
Ludwig used this building as a retreat; while it has some state rooms, they are small and not intended for official work.
Let's look at some of the statuary...
...starting with one of the four caryatids holding up the columns. Technically since these are males, they are called Telamons.
We have here an angel with a wreath...
...and above them, some well endowed trumpeting angels around this crest...
...rising at top to Atlas carrying the weight of the world.
A telescopic view looking south shows the lightning rod in front of Atlas's statue. In the distance is the statue of Marie Antoinette on one of the terraces that rise to Venus's pavilion.
A view of the north (back) side of the palace with the terraced southern gardens rising at top center.
The west side
Let's now climb the back hill towards the green pavilion used for concerts.
These gardens climb the hill and are descended by an artificial (and, of course, symmetric) waterfall -- #20 in this map.
Looking north above the complex, we see the southern pool, the palace, and the waterfall descending down the northern slope -- and the green pavilion at top. Those green "mole tunnels" on either side are walkways as well.
Most tourists start their climb to the green pavilion on the east side of the palace that leads into these arbors.
Paths here are paved and well tended.
These emerge at the top of the waterfall.
The waterfall flows over thirty marble steps.
Not all steps are steps; some are plateaus.
Note the Alpine setting.
A view of the waterfall looking north and uphill to the pavilion. This compressed telescopic shot was taken at the base of Neptune's fountain.
Our goal is the music pavilion, as green as the trees that surround it.
The west side has another Italianate garden featuring a gilded statue of the Greek goddess Fama at one and Louis XIV at the other.
Four vases are made of majolica ceramic.
The Greek Fama is typically displayed with a trumpet to blare the days gossip. In some depictions, she has many eyes to see all and mouths to tell it. We could baptize her here as Gabriel (we don't even need to add water.)
Fama anchors a short walk that culminates in another gilded statue...
...of Amor (Cupid) with dolphins.
The axis defined by the two gilded statues leads to Ludwig II's idol -- Louis XIV of France, the Sun King.
The back garden is rather sparse by Schloss Linderhof standards. It's pretty much a graveled space interrupted by French-curved flower beds. It leads to a pond that ends the waterfall.
In the middle of the pond rises a small grouping focused upon Neptune, god of the sea -- complete with trident.
The east garden is rather subdued. Its access leads around a statue group of Venus and Adonis (making this at least the 3rd reference to the goddess of love in these gardens). It culminates by climbing 24 steps up to a statue of Louis XVI whose wife's statue we saw on one of the south terraces.
Several buildings augment the grounds and are reached typically by long paths that climb the hills.
The most elaborate is the Venus Grotto whose appearance is deceiving here. Through this passage, a Wagnerian stage complete with lighting effects unfolds, augmented by stalactites and stalagmites. It was inspired by the first act of "Tannhäuser" and the Blue Grotto tucked into the Isle of Capri.
Several of these buildings first appeared at European exhibitions where Ludwig purchased them and had them placed in settings in the Alps.
The Moorish kiosk was designed by Karl von Diebitsch (a German, of course) and delighted Ludwig; however, a railroad magnate bought it first.
Eventually, the railroad titan went bankrupt and Ludwig was able to get it. Note the peacock throne...
...and the chandelier. Sorry about the shaking here as light was dim and we were constrained by glass.
The chapel is quite simple but sports the Bavarian onion dome. The oldest building in the complex, it was built by the abbot of the nearby Ettal Abby in 1684.
This is the St Anna chapel, named after the mother of Mary. As an aesthete, Ludwig was obsessed with mythology from antiquity (somewhat) and from Germanic folk lore (a lot, especially as interpreted by Wagner.) ...
...but as a king, he liked those absolute monarchs who proposed the divine right of kings as an extension of Catholic theology. While this idea was hopelessly passé in his day, he yearned for that earlier time when his idol, France's Sun King, held that his actions were subject to no constraints by humans. Despite all that, Christian and Catholic iconography is pretty well buried at Schloss Linderhof. In his defense, Ludwig II did have the interior redesigned and fitted with stained glass windows. Compared with how he bankrupted himself honoring pagans, its a pittance.
The Moroccan house debuted at the Paris World Fair in 1878 and was purchased by Ludwig; however, it was put here only in 1998.
Ludwig had the interior remodeled but after his death, the building fell into private hands until the Bavarian state bought it back in 1980.
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