Belvedere (Potsdam)


Belvedere (Potsdam)

Belvedere on the Klausberg (German: "Belvedere auf dem Klausberg" from the Italian word for "fine view") is located in the north of Brandenburg's capital of Potsdam. It was built from 1770-1772 under the rule of Friedrich the Great on the ridge, which bordered the northern edge of Sanssouci Park. Architect Georg Christian Unger received the commission for the building, which at the time of its construction could be seen from a great distance away.

History

In 1769, the year that the New Palace, at the western end of the park was finished, a new garden project was begun. On the southern slope of the Klausberg, fruit trees and grape vines were planted and many buildings received architectural face-lifts. Of these only the Belvedere and the Dragon House, built at the same time, were ever finished. Besides its decorative purpose, the Belvedere also earned a reputation during Friedrich's lifetime, as its name suggests, for its grand views of Sanssouci Park and the surrounding countryside.

After the original s-shaped, double-flighted outside staircase on the north side were damaged by moisture, they were renovated in 1839 and rebuilt in their current horseshoe design. Within the area of the stair walls there are ventilation openings, arched windows, and doors. During a second extensive renovation in 1903, Wilhelm II had the living spaces improved and sanitation facilities installed, so that the Imperial family could stay in the building more comfortably.

In the last days of the Second World War, the Belvedere was almost completely destroyed. It burned down in April 1945 after being shelled by artillery, and for decades it only had makeshift support to keep it from collapsing completely. The Munich Messerschmitt Foundation decided in 1990 to finance the structure's rebuilding. In September 2002, Belvedere on the Klausberg was transferred to the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg.

Architecture

Georg Christian Unger based his plans on a drawing by the Italian archeologist Francesco Bianchini from his 1738 volume "Del Palazzo de' Cesari". Biancini had tried to reconstruct the Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill in ancient Rome. The only sources he used were ancient writers, parts of the ruins, and an inscription of a building with fountains on a coin he found in the Nero-erected market "marcelum magnum" in Rome. The ancient gold piece shows an enclosed room, an open rotunda with a vaulted ceiling, and attached on both sides to open walkways.

Exterior structure

Like the Fountain temple of the ancients, the Belvedere also has a round floor plan. The enclosed building is surrounded on the lower level by a platform with twenty ionic columns. They are supported in turn with twenty corinthian columns on the upper level. This column ring opens to the west and to the east through balcony-like attachments.

The dome over the vaulted ceiling is decorated with the statues of twenty figures of divinities made out of sandstone, which were finished in different sculptors' workshops. Through the eight arched french doors, light enters the building's two rooms, one on top of the other. The upper room can only be reached by the stairs, while the lower room has a door between the stairs on the platform.

Interior space

The lower room has not yet been restored since the destruction of 1945. In the 18th century, its decorations included a walls of white Silesian marble and vases of red jasper between, as well as above, the french doors. The trapezoid-shaped grey marble slabs of the floor formed an eight-pointed star in the center of the room. The star motif from the floor was continued on the vaulted ceiling, where white marble framing the ceiling tapered off in the middle. The room's simple furnishings consisted of 16 carved gilt chairs with red leather seats.

In the upper, restored, room, the walls are covered with soft green marble (celadon), which makes the light shimmer light blue. There are gilt ornaments of plaster bordering the french windows. The parquet floors form trapezoids made up of different kinds of wood. The ceiling, painted by Karl Christian Wilhelm Baron und Friedrich Wilhelm Bock, was covered with clouds and different kinds of birds; it was reconstructed using an old black-and-white photo. Here too the furniture consisted of 16 carved gilt chairs, which had green leather cushions to match the walls.

References

*The information in this article is based on that in its German equivalent.
*Amtlicher Führer der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin Brandenburg: Der Klausberg. 1. Auflage, Potsdam 2003

External links

* [http://www.spsg.de/index.php?id=159 The Belvedere on the Klausberg]
* [http://www.potsdam-tour.co.uk/?lc=15 Potsdam from Above - Belvedere auf dem Klausberg]


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