Monday, 25 April 2016

Gods and Heroes

Imagine your job is to stand on a roof top balustrade day in, day out, in all seasons and weather. Repeat for 200 years, and you won't look your best anymore, I suppose.
Not surprisingly, then, the statues of gods and heroes that adorn Ludwigsburg's palace have suffered in the two centuries since they were put in place, some to the point of losing parts of their limbs.

These larger-than-life people of sandstone have been replaced by copies where the damage was too great. The original statues have found a new protective home in the Lapidarium, a couple of rooms with vaulted ceilings on the ground floor of the palace, once housing the vast collection of silver in the monarch's possession.

 Palace residents and visitors were never meant to come face to face with them; they would always only be visible from afar or from the ground, and yet they were made to high standards of art and craftsmanship. They are the works of at least 5 different sculptors and range from the time construction of the palace started (the foundation stone having been laid in 1704) to the late 18th century.

When my Mum and I went to the park on Tuesday afternoon (see two posts back), we also spent some time at the Lapidarium. It was freezing cold in there, but it is a fascinating place - I've always loved looking at statues, and I guess Edith Nesbit's "The Enchanted Castle", which I read and re-read several times as a child, played a considerable role in that.


In the one of the palace's courtyards, this collection of broken statues and other stone ornaments shows the degree of damage.

Gods and heroes have come together here for an eternally silent party. But who knows what happens at night, when the visitors have all left and the palace is dark?




10 comments:

  1. A great way to spend a rainy day. :)

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    1. It certainly is, Lee - even though we were there on a beautiful sunny and mild day (it was the same outing as the one I showed two posts back).

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  2. I am always in two minds about statues. There's something about them which slightly gives me the creeps, and yet they are also curiously fascinating, specially the very realistic ones!

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    1. So true, Jenny. My Mum and I both found that nearly all of the ladies had rather daft "dumb blonde" facial expressions, and we reckoned that this was in line with the way men liked to see their women in Baroque times. The statue of Diana, Goddess of Hunt, was different.

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  3. Ah yes. Fascinating and a bit creepy at the same time... I have read The Enchanted Castle, too. :)

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    1. Then you probably know which scenes have impressed my young mind so much :-)

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  4. Oddly I have become blasé about statues. The art of the statuary of cathedrals and palaces etc over many centuries in Europe have left so much for us to marvel over. Some of the most magnificent are beyond description (for me) and some of the simplest have moved me to tears. However we are never short of statuary to look at and take an opinion upon and, occasionally, one comes upon a gem that makes it all worth while. I must add, too, that the talent which created all these statues sometimes makes my mind boggle.

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    1. Some statues do stand out from the crowd, so to speak, for their faces and/or the high level of artist's talent and craftmanship they represent. Do you know the "Bamberger Reiter"? He's one of my favourites, but I've never seen him in real life - not yet!
      In my last post about Ulm, I posted some pictures of the statues outside Ulm Minster. I could have looked at them for a long, long time.

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  5. How the mighty are fallen! Oh, my!
    You made me remember how, when I was very little, I used to pretend to fall asleep in bed and be totally still and then open my eyes suddenly in the hope of catching my dolls awake and playing with one another as they did in my Raggedy Ann books. Alas, I never succeeded!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this little glimpse at you as a child, Kristi! I, too, was convinced that my dolls and stuffed toys would come alive when I wasn't around, and like you, I never managed to catch them in the act :-)

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