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

Exterior view

begun 1745
Sanssouci, Potsdam

Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick II (Frederick the Great, 1712-1786), King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfil King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.

In 1744, an artificially terraced vineyard was laid out with six curved terraces and a central flight of steps. Frederick II chose this for his summer residence. The palace of Sanssouci, together with the extensive gardens, was laid out in accordance with plans by the architect Knobelsdorff, although Frederick himself made his own contribution, as surviving sketches indicate. A mere two years after starting work, fitting out of the interiors had already started under Knobelsdorff's direction. Almost a century later the return wings were added.

The oval central section of the palace contains the principal rooms, including the domed Marble Hall with its coloured marble. Adjacent to it are the king's living rooms, the music room and bedroom-cum-study. The circular library with cedar paneling and bronze ornament is like a precious gem. The rear courtyard is surrounded by colonnades.

The picture shows the artificially terraced vineyard with the central flight of steps.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.