Ah yes, the palace in front of the cafe. It doesn’t take up a single city block. No, it makes a massive circle around what would roughly be two city blocks and then, naturally enough, there’s the small garden out the back, once French style but later British mode. I looked down the main track astride the elongated lake, fashioned after Versailles, for about two kilometres and noted some trees blocking further vision. Whether or not that was the end of it I have no idea.
However, inside is yet another splendid example of the baroque lavishness that adorns so many European palaces, this one also obviously influenced by the French. There is no spare centimetre that doesn’t have some display of fresco, the stonemason’s art or gilded wood. Of course, that would be neglecting the silk walls, the tapestries that took 12 years to make and the finest chairs from Paris, but we won’t mention them.
This house of the Wittelsbachs reeks of history; whether it’s Ludwig I’s affair with Lola Montez that ultimately brought him down or the birth of Ludwig II in 1945 (mad Ludwig, who built Neuschwanstein Castle, the Disney one) that piques your interest, there’s a hundred stories contained in these walls. I gawked at the couch that Ludwig II was born on. For me, it completed a cycle as I’d also been to Neuschwanstein (new swan’s castle) and his resting place in the crypt at St Michaels church. The latter was a complete fluke.
I also had paid for entry to a “little” hunting lodge place for the lady of the house. It’s called “Amalienburg”. This highest flowering of the Rococo genre is one of the classics of European art. Naturally enough, this was as grand as you and I mere mortals could never dare dream of. Spectacular chandeliers surrounded by seven metre high mirrors awash with Rococo makes an unforgettable impression. It was the size of around three normal houses and, set in the woods, with its splendid neo-classical façade, I thought I wouldn’t mind spending a quiet weekend or two taking tea there, after the bike races around the gardens I assume.
The Schloss Nymphenberg also has a museum area where all the extravagantly baroque and rococo carriages are displayed, along with a myriad of harnesses, each one worth more than my nephew Brian’s three horses combined, not that these would ever adorn anything equine again.
Upstairs they have the largest display of Meissen porcelain outside of Dresden. In behind the display at many places were art treasures, with two of my favourites getting a gig (Dou and Ribera), while a couple of no names such as Raphael and Murillo were also featured.
The way they were shown was designed to highlight the works to best advantage. The direction and intensity of the lighting had obviously had much thought put into it so that the vibrancy of the colours was a beautiful sight to behold. Just the thing to impress the aristocracy who visited before they went on a gilded coach ride.