`Last week, I was able to watch The Three Musketeers, a film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It is an adaptation of the book of the same title which is written by Alexandre Dumas. When this scene came up, the first thing that came to my mind is “Isn’t that Rococo interiors?”. To know better about the place, I searched for the filming locations on the internet.
`The setting of the story is in Paris but the location for their filming took place in Germany. The palace used in the film as King Louis XIII ‘s home is actually a parsonage, the official residence usually provided by a church for its parson. It is called as The Würzburg Residence and The building was dubbed the “nicest parsonage in Europe” by Napoleon Bonaparte.
`Because different owners resided on the place, different styles were also incorporated to it. Balthasar Neumann, architect of the court of the Bishop of Würzburg, was the principal architect of the Residenz, which was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn in 1720, and completed in 1744. Within that period, there are a lot of times where the construction ceased because of the changes of different residents. There are also a lot of changes in the style so from the original Baroque, infusions of Rococo and Neoclassical are applied. There was also the time when the place is damaged during World War II, and it took over 30 years of reconstruction and a lot of funding to return it to the original state.
This is Neumann’s world-famous staircase, roofed by an unsupported vault, was decorated in 1752-53 by the Venetian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo with a ceiling fresco representing the four continents. The painting, measuring 18 x 30 metres, is one of the largest frescos ever created. The staircase was also shown in the movie where the guards prepared for the battle.
`The White Hall in Neoclassical style is dominated by the stucco decorations of Antonio Bossi. The white stucco works on a light gray background are composed of a large quantity of rocailles, a typical piece of decoration of the baroque style, mixed with images of real items, especially of military purpose.
`The Court Chapel is a prime example of the sacral Baroque style in Germany. The interior design is dominated by the curving walls and three intergradient oval dome vaults.
`The Residence was built within the fortified town. Therefore the garden too had to be planned within the fortifications. The solution included two bastions of the fortified town wall, using its differences in height to create very special landscape. From west to east there is a rise in ground, until the level of the wall is reached. Near the residence itself, the garden is designed in a very formal, Baroque style. Farther away, the style changes to an English garden with small forests and meadows.
`I really love the residence’s interiors when I first saw it in the movie. And when I searched about it, I fell in love deeper with it. I admired the fusion of different period styles in the Würzburg Residence for it tells the story of how long the construction of the palace took place. So next time you’ll watch a film, try to observe the places shown on it.
photos from the movie screen shots and wikipedia