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Episcopalian Baroque residence at Lake Constance

Meersburg New Palace

Sun from the illustration of midday, stucco element in the first antechamber at Meersburg New Palace, by Carlo Pozzi, 1760/62. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
A genius stuccoist

Carlo Luca Pozzi

The prince-bishops’ residence has the masterful stuccoist Carlo Luca Pozzi (1734–1812) from Ticino to thank for its special reputation. Even back then, it was known for its unusual and amusing stucco work.

Front view of Mannheim Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Carlo's brother became the court stuccoist in Mannheim.

Where was Carlo Luca Pozzi from?

Carlo Luca Pozzi was born in 1734, the second son of stuccoist Francesco Pozzi in Castello San Pietro in Ticino. Together with his older brother, Giuseppe Antonio Pozzi, he learned the stucco trade from his father, Francesco, and initially worked in his studio. In the late 1750s, both brothers left home to travel through Germany. Carlo Luca Pozzi wound up in Meersburg, while his brother, Giuseppe, became court stuccoist for the electoral court in Mannheim in 1766.

Stucco relief, Meersburg New Palace, circa 1760. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Detail of the bishop's quarters.

What kind of work did Pozzi do in Meersburg?

In 1760, Pozzi began decorating the New Palace, which was now livable. Twenty years earlier, his father had worked on the structure, too. As the crowning finish, Carlo Luca created original stucco reliefs in the ceremonial hall, on the staircase and in the apartment rooms. The Meersburg stucco is amusing, and unique from that found in other palaces’ decor. In comparison to the palace rooms, his stucco in the palace church organ loft is quite serious.

Cupid with fluttering sailcloth, late Rococo stucco in the audience chamber at Meersburg New Palace, by Carlo Pozzi, 1760/62. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Cupid blowing air, late Rococo stucco in the audience chamber at Meersburg New Palace, by Carlo Pozzi, 1760/62. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Details of Pozzi's ornate stucco ceiling in the audience chamber: the element of air, embodied by two cupids.

“Sapientia” with snake and mirror, late Rococo stucco in the Chapel Room at Meersburg New Palace, by Carlo Pozzi, 1760/62. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Wisdom: three-dimensional, lifelike, imaginative.

What did his stucco look like?

His work is filled with allegory and personification: virtues and daytimes, coats of arms and badges of dignity, the four elements; and these are accompanied by delicate embellishments interspersed with scenes of courtly life, such as setting the table and playing billiards, hints of landscapes, illustrations of both Meersburg Castle and the New Palace, and countless hunts. What's unusual about these stucco works is that they are vivid, animated and fantastical, such as a puffing cherub as the embodiment of the element “air.”

Where else did Pozzi work?

In addition to other structures around Lake Constance, Pozzi also decorated buildings in northern Switzerland, Belgium, Genoa, Lombardy, and Ticino. In 1773, he created ten of the twelve caryatids, female sculptures that are used as supporting columns, in the Ludwigskirche in Saarbrücken. In 1789, he sculpted the angels’ glory in the choir of the St. Ursen Cathedral in Solothurn and the stucco pieces in the Villa Olmo in Como from 1789 to 1794.