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The oldest ecclesiastical Baroque residence on the Upper Rhine

Bruchsal Palace

Laubenzimmer von Schloss Bruchsal;  Foto: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
A surprising discovery during reconstruction

The Arbor Room

During the reconstruction and modernization of the palace in the 1970s, there was a discovery that no one had expected: In the southern corner room on the ground floor, under a coat of paint, original frescoes from the Baroque period had been preserved.

Painted bird on the wall with a lamp in the foreground, detail of the Arbor Room in Bruchsal Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

A mural in the Arbor Room.

A painted "garden arbor"

Paths under wood trellises covered in plants were standard in Baroque gardens. The walls and the flat vault of the Arbor Room are painted with latticework, interwoven with vine leaves, on which birds perch. The painted arbor and the purple, monochrome landscape pictures along the plinth area were an attempt to bring nature inside the palace. Italian halls had similar paintings as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.

Detail from the western arcade building, the former orangery, in Rastatt Favorite Palace, with the remains of a mural. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Painting in the orangery of Rastatt Favorite Palace.

An Italian artist?

The frescoes may have been painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Francesco Marchini, who also created the other paintings on the ground floor and exterior facade—which have now been largely reconstructed—under Prince-Bishop Schönborn. Small remains of similar images with lattice and vine leaves were also preserved in one of the orangeries at Rastatt Favorite Palace, which was created in 1718.

Restoring the paintings

The paintings in the Arbor Room of Bruchsal Palace were carefully restored after their discovery. Missing parts were reconstructed in lighter tones, allowing them to be recognized as additions on careful examination. Today, the Arbor Room is part of the "Built, Destroyed, Rebuilt" documentation, which gives visitors information about the reconstruction of Bruchsal Palace.

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