29 January 2013

Residenz München- Antiquarium

Anitquarium of the Munich Residenz
It was the last day of our December travels, and we had about five hours in Munich before our flight homeward, barely enough time for a quick run through the Residenz, the Palace of the Bavarian rulers.   The gem of the palace, is the  magnificent Antiquarium.   Billed as "the Largest Renaissance Hall North of the Alps" at 66 meters long, the Antiquarium, was created circa 1570 by Jacopo Strada for Duke Albrecht V, to display a vast collection of classical busts. It was redesigned to its current appearance as a banquet hall in 1586-1600 by Friedrich Sustris; the floor was lowered and the ceiling decorated with paintings by Peter Candid, Antonio Ponzano, and, of course, Hans Thonauer the Elder.

Groteske ornament surrounds cartouches with scenes of Bavaria
But really-- the groteske ornament steals the whole show, much of it designed by Sustris himself.   It is graceful and Fantastic.  In the Winter Light, it appears rather moody.

Münchner Wappen featured in a cartouche over a window
As you may imagine much of the Residenz was severely damaged during the bombings in WWII.  Fortunately the Antiquarium survived, although not without some losses.  Parts of the ceiling have been recreated, and some areas are  bit fuzzy from smoke damage, but overall it's breathtaking: a blend of classical serenity, and colorful whimsy.

Grotesque ceiling ornamentation dates from the end of the 16th century

Sebastian Schmuttermaier in action!
While visiting this palace we met photographer Sebastian Schmuttermaier, who had obtained permission to bring in a tripod and a special camera mount to shoot 360 degree panoramic images of several rooms in the Residenz. Have a look at the spectacular results of his work on his website.  Follow the arrows to take a tour!

All photos in this post by Lynne Rutter, taken in Munich, Germany, December 2012
click on images to view at larger size.

20 January 2013

Mad for Malachite

vintage Fornasetti malachite plates at First Dibs.

One of my long-time obsessions is malachite. Not just the stone, but as a motif in interior design.  I love the vibrant color, the mesmerizing pattern, and the way it just seems to look fabulous no matter where you use it.  I am also a bit crazy for Fornasetti, whose gold and malachite plates (above) mix Empire splendor with Mid-Century chic.
Malachite Room of the Grand Trianon, Versailles.  photo by Lynne Rutter
Malachite as both a pattern and a color works wonderfully into period as well as contemporary interiors.  Napoleon lived for a time in the Grand Trianon at Versailles, and decorated its interior in Empire style.  Le Salon des Malachites showcases a collection of furnishings using the semi-precious stone, set off by deep rose pink upholstery. A generous amount of ormolu trim never hurts (and makes for a nice color triad).
Pillows made from "Gemstone" fabric in Emerald, from the Tony Duquette collection for Jim Thompson.
Tony Duquette was famous for using malachite as part of his eclectic and colorful interior design. Above, the addition of malachite pillows brings a vibrant complementary punch to the analogous palette of the space.  The same fabric used in a black or red Chinoiserie scheme?  Oh yes!

Coral-colored branches and Chinese porcelain with Fornasetti Malachite wallpaper form Cole and Sons, England.
painted malachite in progress by Lynne Rutter

Cole and Sons makes a wonderful Fornasetti Malachite wallpaper and you can also find a well-designed malachite fabric by Ravynka at Spoonflower.

Pantone's Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald Green.  I can think of no better way to incorporate this color into your life than with  malachite.   Although, real emeralds are totally acceptable, of course.  

For my fellow painters and color enthusiasts, genuine Malachite pigment is available from Sinopia.
faux malachite mirror painted by Lynne Rutter
I recently painted a large faux malachite mirror frame with 22 karat gilt edge, which is now available for sale at $2,300.  Contact me if you'd like this piece, or to commission one like it!

01 January 2013


Groß Wappensaal of the Landhaus Klagenfurt
The capital of the Austrian state of Carinthia, Klagenfurt boasts a splendid Landhaus, or "country house," built as the seat of the state government in its more feudal arrangement, and which now serves as the state house as well as a museum. It's famous for its magnificent Wappensaal (Hall of Arms), a must-see for heraldry geeks and ornamentalists alike.

The arms of the noble families of Carinthia painted on the walls of the Klagenfurt Landhaus Wappensaal.
The Landhaus and the Wappensaal date from the early 16th century but suffered a great fire in 1723. The building was remodeled in the Baroque style and the Hall redecorated by painter Josef Ferdinand Fromiller (1693-1760).  In addition to the grand Scheinarchitektur ceiling fresco and a pair of murals depicting important events in the founding of the Carinthian state, the walls are covered with over 650 coats of arms of all of the armigerous families of the region.  Some additions were made in later years all the way through the 19th century, with a few spaces left blank to honor extinct families whose crests could no longer be found.

Josef Ferdinand Fromiller's ceiling fresco features a brilliant quadratura colonnade  and portraits of himself and his sons in the corner.
The trompe l'oeil in this grand hall is elegantly painted,  and very effective. However the almost graphic pattern of arms emblazoning the walls is stunning both as decor and as a device for creating a sense of continuous history. Which is rather the point after all.

marquetry doors and surrounds made of black marble
The inlaid marble floor and baroque marble doorways were created by a Venetian master named Francesco Robba. The marquetry doors are also particularly fine.

After years of traveling together, Erling has now amassed a collection of photos of me taking photos. He is over there capturing me with his iPhone.
Kleiner Wappensaal  (1740), currently used as a conference room.
A smaller Wappensaal in the Landhaus was also painted in 1740 by Fromiller with a further 298 arms of Burgraves, Presidents, and Chancellors. This room is in use for conferences and has been modernized around the murals. The ceiling mural is entitled "Veritas Temporis Filia" (Truth is the Daughter of Time.) 
Is your conference room emblazoned with armorial splendor?  No?  Well maybe it should be.

For German and Austrian arms there is of course a great book (just as there exists for English and French arms) identifying each family and you can find this Wappenbuch online.   

I am reining myself in tremendously here because I can go on and on about heraldry and other rooms decorated in this way, and am bursting to do so, but I am going to have to save that for another time. 
Stay tuned for more from Austria coming up soon!

all photos in this post by Lynne Rutter, Klagenfurt, December 2012
click on images to view larger