New Meersburg Palace, detail from Glorification of Franz Konrad von Rodt and his Country, ceiling fresco in the staircase by Giuseppe Appiani 1761

An illusionistic fresco painterGiuseppe Ignazio Appiani

The ceiling illustrations on the staircase and in the ceremonial hall at Meersburg New Palace are the phenomenal work of German-Italian Baroque painter Giuseppe Ignazio Appiani (1706–1785). They are particularly impressive because of their elegance and harmony, and just a hint of irony.

Glorification of the arts, detail from the ceiling fresco on the staircase of Meersburg New Palace

Appiani came from a family of artists.

Who was Giuseppe Ignazio Appiani?

Appiani was born in 1706, the son of stuccoist Pietro Francesco Appiani from Porto Ceresio and Maria Sophia from Fürstenfeld-Bruck in Munich. He worked exclusively in Germany and Switzerland, and was also known under the name Joseph Ignaz Appiani. Appiani did his most important work in Mainz, where he worked as court painter for the prince-elector of Mainz, becoming the director of the Electoral Academy for Painting and Sculpting in 1758. He died in 1785 in Triefenstein, Lower Franconia.

Meersburg seminary chapel with frescoes by Appiani

Frescoes in the seminary chapel.

What work did he do in Meersburg?

Appiani worked as a fresco painter in Meersburg between 1759 and 1762. Together with his colleagues, he created grand frescoes for the staircase and ceremonial hall in the New Palace. He and his colleagues also decorated the seminary's St. Karl Borromäus chapel with ceiling frescoes and apostle paintings. More of his works can be found in the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, in the refectory at Obermarchtal Monastery and in the Oberdorf Chapel of the Holy Cross near Constance.

Hunting hound and slain deer, detail from the ceiling painting in the ceremonial hall of Meersburg New Palace, by Giuseppe Appiani, 1762
Slain wild boar, detail from the ceiling painting in the ceremonial hall of Meersburg New Palace, by Giuseppe Appiani, 1762

The ceiling painting in the ceremonial hall also reflect the prince-bishop's love of the hunt.

With whom did Appiani collaborate?

Giuseppe Ignazio Appiani collaborated with architect Franz Anton Bagnato and stuccoists from the Pozzi studio. They were a group of artists who often worked together in Swabia and Switzerland. In Meersburg, they collaborated to expand and decorate the New Palace. As always in Meersburg, the subject matter revolved around the glorification of the prince-bishops’ regency.

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