Episcopalian Baroque residence at Lake Constance

Meersburg New Palace

Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
The heart of the bel étage

The ceremonial hall

The large ceremonial hall forms the center of the bel étage, the representational main floor. The two prince-bishops’ apartments, the state apartment and the ambassador apartment connect to the left and right of the hall. This sequence of rooms is typical for Baroque courtly ceremonial.

Cherub with square and pendulum, detail from the ceremonial hall, Meersburg New Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

In praise of architecture in the ceremonial hall.

Completed in two phases

By the early 18th century, the footprint of the ceremonial hall had already built by architect Christoph Gessinger. However, the hall’s final shape was not established until 1762, when the newly constructed staircase provided direct access to this central room. It spans two stories, which in and of itself, distinguishes it from any other room in the palace. The hall's festive character enhances Carlo Luca Pozzi’s stucco work.

Cardinal Prince-Bishop Franz Conrad von Rodt; fresco on the staircase, Meersburg New Palace, Giuseppe Appiani, 1761. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Prince-Bishop Franz Conrad von Rodt.

How was the ceremonial hall furnished?

At the end of Franz Conrad von Rodt's rule in 1775, the versatile decor in the ceremonial hall consisted of a portrait gallery displaying Popes Benedict XIV and Clemens XIII, who had ruled during Rodt's term, along with his predecessors Johann Franz von Stauffenberg and Kasimir Anton von Sickingen. Ten paintings depicting scenes from the Old Testament also hung in the hall. Eighteen red velour-upholstered armchairs and a giant dining table were also provided for special occasions.

Imperatorenkopf, Spätrokokostuckatur von Carlo Pozzi im Festsaal des Neuen Schlosses Meersburg; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Imperatorenkopf, Spätrokokostuckatur von Carlo Pozzi im Festsaal des Neuen Schlosses Meersburg; Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Splendid late Rococo stucco work adorns the ceremonial hall.

Original embellishments

Stucco work by Carlo Luca Pozzi (1734–1812), such as gilded profile frames and large radiant mirrors hanging above the marble chimneys and pilasters, can still be viewed today. Stucco floral garlands support and border medallions with the laurel wreathed heads of rulers from Antiquity. The embellishments reference the arts: reliefs depicting gilded musical instruments, cherubs highlighting architecture, painting, sculpting and music.

Personification of divine providence, detail from a 1762 ceiling fresco in the ceremonial hall, Meersburg New Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Colorful ceiling fresco in the ceremonial hall.

Shielded by divine providence

In Giuseppe Ignazio Appiani's monumental ceiling fresco, divine providence is the focal point, under which the prince bishopric lands flourish through the seasons. The hunt has special significance. Appiani depicts it in the most beautiful colors as a symbol of sovereign rank and the privileges that come along with it. In addition to allegories of the four seasons, the eastern half of the fresco depicts the goddess of the hunt, Diana, and her companions.

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