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

Interior view

Augustusburg, Brühl

In 1724, Johann Conrad Schlaun received possibly the most interesting project of his young career from Elector Clemens August, also archbishop of Cologne. He was asked to rebuild Schloss Brühl, near Cologne. It was a difficult commission. On the one hand, the Elector wanted his rank as ruler enshrined in a suitable seat, but on the other, he wanted to save on building costs. He therefore ordered that the ruins of an earlier structure, a moated castle, should be thoroughly explored for materials that could be reused. Schlaun had to take over the ground plan of the medieval edifice, but was at the same time keen to introduce modern Roman ideas borrowed from Borromini and Bernini. His solution obviously did not entirely satisfy his client. The latter's brother, the Elector Charles Frederick of Bavaria, harshly criticized the architecture, and dispatched his own court architect, François de Cuvilliés, from Munich to Cologne bearing new plans. In 1728 Schlaun was dismissed from the project.

Cuvilliés transformed Schlaun's traditional castle model with its cramped courtyard and medieval round tower into a modern palace with the character of a summer residence in the French manner. In 1741 Balthasar Neumann came to Brühl and designed the stairwell, built three years later. Thus, after over forty years the palace was finally completed. It contained stylistic features borrowed from prominent Baroque buildings in Italy, France, and south Germany.

Clemens August was keen on things Italian, and managed to obtain the services of an important artist for the paintings, the Lombard Carlo Innocenzo Carlone, second only to Tiepolo. Carlone designed the paintings for the staircase hall, music room, dining room and guard-room, as well as the Nepomuk chapel.

The picture shows the staircase hall.

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