KNOBELSDORFF, Georg Wenceslaus von
(b. 1699, Kuckädel, d. 1753, Berlin)

Biography

German architect and painter. Knobelsdorff was the architect of the Berlin Opera House and the Castle of Sanssouci in Potsdam. A former captain in the Prussian army, he turned to art in 1730. His portraits and landscapes are highly rated.

Knobelsdorff was born in Kuckädel (now Kukadlo in Poland). A soldier in the service of Prussia, he resigned his commission in 1729 as captain so that he could pursue his interest in architecture. In 1740 he travelled to Paris and Italy to study at the expense of the new king, Frederick II of Prussia.

Knobelsdorff was influenced as an architect by French Baroque Classicism and by Palladian architecture. With his interior design and the backing of the king, he created the basis for the Frederician Rococo style at Rheinsberg, which was the residence of the crown prince and later monarch.

Knobelsdorff was the head custodian of royal buildings and head of a privy council on financial matters. In 1746 he was fired by the king, and Johann Boumann (c. 1706-1776) finished all his projects, including Sanssouci.