Antechamber with game table, Meersburg New Palace

Emperor Maximilian on the huntThe tapestries

The valuable Meersburg tapestries were apparently brought to the New Palace by Prince-Bishop Franz Conrad von Rodt. He decorated several rooms with this famous tapestry series. They depict the “Hunts of Emperor Maximilian.”

Illustration of a hunt, detail from the tapestry series “Les Chasses de Maximilien” (The Hunts of Maximilian), Meersburg New Palace

Illustrations of hunts decorate the audience and antechambers.

A reflection of the prince-bishop's passion for hunting

Surviving inventories indicate that very valuable tapestries once hung in two of the rooms on the bel étage, the audience chamber and the antechamber. They were versions of the famous tapestry series “Chasses de Maximilien”, or The Hunts of Emperor Maximilian II, part of one of the most significant series in Europe. The motif is no accident. Prince-Bishop Franz Conrad von Rodt and his brother Maximilian Christoph were both “great hunters.”

Full-wall design with pictures from “Les Chasses de Maximilien” (The Hunts of Maximilian), Meersburg New Palace

The hunt scenes are especially detailed.

Famous tapestries from Brussels

The original versions of this tapestry series were manufactured in the 16th century, based on designs by a painter from Brussels, Bernard van Orley (1491–1542). Orley applied the Renaissance style of painting to tapestry art. He is also responsible for the narrative aspects as well as the decorative details in the “Maximilian's Hunts” tapestries. These representations primarily depict hunt motifs, in particular, scenes of falconry, a method of hunting that uses birds of prey.

The tapestries returned

The walls of the antechamber and audience chamber are now decorated with replicas of the “Chasses de Maximilien” tapestry series, and depict two landscapes in which hunts are underway: one a deer hunt, the other a hunt for wild boar. The very first, original tapestry series is located at the Louvre in Paris, while the original Meersburg tapestries are privately owned.

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