NEUMANN, Balthasar
(b. 1687, Eger, Bohemia, d. 1753, Würzburg)

Interior view

begun 1720
Schloss Bruchsal, Bruchsal

Bruchsal Palace (Schloss Bruchsal) is the only Prince-Bishop's residence on the Upper Rhine. It is famous for its opulent staircase constructed by Balthasar Neumann - known as the "crown jewel of all Baroque staircases."

As in every original style, the same formal intention seems in the German Rococo to model space and volume. The thre-dimensional curve is the leitmotif of the period. It pervades buildings from the main theme of their composition down to the smallest ornamental details. Nowhere else perhaps can the supreme importance of this motif, and of the perfect unity of space and decoration which it implies, be as convincingly seen as in one of Neumann's most brilliant masterpieces, the staircase of the Bishop's Palace at Bruchsal.

Neumann's staircase stands in the centre of the corps de logis, and is the largest room in the whole palace - which shows how much importance was attached to the staircase in the building of German and Austrian Baroque palaces. Apart from the staircase, the palace is not by Neumann.

On March 1, 1945, only two months before the end of the Second World War, much of the palace was destroyed in an American air raid directed against nearby railway installations. It has since been completely rebuilt in a restoration project that lasted until 1996.

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