Today we are headed to the Residence Palace, originally built for one prince-bishop of the Schonbrunn family. While we have been in Europe we have learned that before the separation of church and state that bishops would become prince’s thereby having their own wealth and that given to them by the church, taxing the people and controlling property. Before entering we have been warned that no backpacks are allowed and no purses larger than 8 x 10 inches.
You enter a grand staircase, the bottom which is tiled in the original wood tiles which would muffle the sound of the horses hoofs as the carriages entered inside the palace to protect the royalty from the elements. The ceilings are masterfully painted and statues line the staircase as well as the perimeter of the ceiling.
One room is so delicately plastered that it appears as icing and what appears to be curtains on the ceiling is actually plaster painted as tucks and folds. Having worked with plaster myself I try to imagine how this artist was able to to give the plaster this delicacy and realistic appearance. They tell us that when the artist was done he “went mad”. It makes me wonder if he was adding ingredients to the plaster that enabled him to make such delicate work but was absorbed into his system effecting his health. They say he used no molds but was able to replicate the masterful work over each door. I found it hard to leave this room because there were so many fine details to take in.
We are taken into the next room (the private bedroom) which is entirely painted mirrors. Unlike the process of painting mirrors as we have seen in the past these mirrors have been painted entirely from the back. Layers of paint to appear from the front as the solid pieces of glass that they are.
Gardens surround the palace. The gardens closest to the palace are formal with statues and fountains. This changes to an English garden which features forests and arbors. There are even statues hidden in the trucks of the trees.