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Ludwig II of Bavaria

Ludwig II of Bavaria

Overview
Ludwig II (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

 from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan
Swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

 King (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 King (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

). Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.

Ludwig is sometimes also called "Mad King Ludwig", though the accuracy of that label has been disputed.
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Encyclopedia
Ludwig II (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

 from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan
Swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

 King (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 King (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

). Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.

Ludwig is sometimes also called "Mad King Ludwig", though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental illness without any medical examination and died a day later under mysterious circumstances, questions about the medical "diagnosis" remain controversial. One of his most quoted sayings was "I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others."

Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles and palaces, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 of the composer Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

. Since his legacy of grandiose castles lives on in the form of massive tourist revenue, King Ludwig is generally well liked and even revered by many in Bavaria today.

Childhood and adolescent years



Born in Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace
The Nymphenburg Palace , i.e. "Nymph's Castle", is a Baroque palace in Munich, Bavaria, southern Germany. The palace was the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria.-History:...

 (today located in suburban Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

), he was the eldest son of Maximilian II of Bavaria
Maximilian II of Bavaria
Maximilian II of Bavaria was king of Bavaria from 1848 until 1864. He was son of Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.-Crown Prince:...

 (then Crown Prince) and his wife Princess Marie of Prussia
Marie of Prussia
Marie of Prussia was Queen of Bavaria and the mother of Kings Ludwig II and Otto of Bavaria.-Life:Born and raised in Berlin, she was the daughter of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, a younger brother of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, and his wife Landgravine Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg...

. His parents intended to name him Otto, but his grandfather, Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I was a German king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.-Crown prince:...

, insisted his grandson was to be named after him
Namesake
Namesake is a term used to characterize a person, place, thing, quality, action, state, or idea that has the same, or a similar, name to another....

, since their common birthday, 25 August, is the feast day of Saint Louis
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

, patron saint of Bavaria. A younger brother, born three years later, was named Otto
Otto of Bavaria
Otto , was King of Bavaria from 1886 to 1913. He was the son of Maximilian II and his wife, Marie of Prussia, and younger brother of Ludwig II...

.

Like many young heirs in an age when Kings governed most of Europe, Ludwig was continually reminded of his royal status. King Maximilian wanted to instruct both of his sons in the burdens of royal duty from an early age. Ludwig was both extremely indulged and severely controlled by his tutors and subjected to a strict regimen of study and exercise. There are some who point to these stresses of growing up in a royal family as the causes for much of his odd behavior as an adult. Ludwig was not close with either of his parents. King Maximilian's advisers had suggested that on his daily walks he might like, at times, to be accompanied by his future successor. The King replied, "But what am I to say to him? After all, my son takes no interest in what other people tell him." Later, Ludwig would refer to his mother as "my predecessor's consort". He was far closer to his grandfather, the deposed and notorious King Ludwig I, who came from a family of eccentrics.

Ludwig's childhood years did have happy moments. He lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee
Schwansee
Schwansee is a lake in Bayerisch Schwaben, Bavaria, Germany. At an elevation of 789,23 m, its surface area is 17 ha....

 (Swan Lake) near Füssen
Füssen
Füssen is a town in Bavaria, Germany, in the district of Ostallgäu situated from the Austrian border. It is located on the banks of the Lech river. The River Lech flows into the Forggensee...

. It was decorated in the gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas. The family also visited Lake Starnberg
Lake Starnberg
Lake Starnberg , 25 kilometers southwest of Munich in southern Bavaria, is Germany's fifth largest freshwater lake and, due to its large average depth, the second richest in water...

. As an adolescent, Ludwig became best friends with his aide de camp, Prince Paul
Prince Paul of Thurn and Taxis
Paul Maximilian Lamoral, Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Paul Maximilian Lamoral Fürst von Thurn und Taxis; 27 May 1843, Castle Donaustauf near Regensburg – 10 March 1879 Cannes, France), was the third child of Maximilian Karl, 6th Prince of Thurn and Taxis and his second wife...

 of Bavaria's wealthy Thurn und Taxis
Thurn und Taxis
The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis is a German family that was a key player in the postal services in Europe in the 16th century and is well known as owners of breweries and builders of many castles.- History :...

 family. The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged scenes from the Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 operas of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

. The friendship ended when Paul became engaged in 1866. During his youth Ludwig also initiated a lifelong friendship with his half-first cousin once removed, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria
Elisabeth of Bavaria
Elisabeth of Austria was the spouse of Franz Joseph I, and therefore both Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. She also held the titles of Queen of Bohemia and Croatia, among others...

, later Empress of Austria
Emperor of Austria
The Emperor of Austria was a hereditary imperial title and position proclaimed in 1804 by the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and continually held by him and his heirs until the last emperor relinquished power in 1918. The emperors retained the title of...

. They loved nature and poetry; Elisabeth called Ludwig "Eagle" and he called her "Dove."

Early reign and wars


Crown Prince Ludwig had just turned 18 when his father died after a three-day illness, and he ascended the Bavarian throne. Although he was not prepared for high office, his youth and brooding good looks made him popular in Bavaria and elsewhere. One of the first acts of his reign, a few weeks after his accession, was to summon composer Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 to his court in Munich. Wagner had a notorious reputation as a revolutionary and a philanderer and was constantly on the run from creditors. Ludwig had admired Wagner since first seeing his opera, Lohengrin
Lohengrin (opera)
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself...

, at the impressionable age of 15½, followed by Tannhäuser
Tannhäuser (opera)
Tannhäuser is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg...

ten months later. Wagner's operas appealed to the king's fantasy-filled imagination and filled an emotional void. On 4 May 1864, the 51-year-old Wagner was given an unprecedented 1¾ hour audience with Ludwig in the Royal Palace in Munich; later the composer wrote of his first meeting with Ludwig, "Alas, he is so handsome and wise, soulful and lovely, that I fear that his life must melt away in this vulgar world like a fleeting dream of the gods." The king was likely the saviour of Wagner's career. Without Ludwig, it is doubted that Wagner's later operas would have been composed, much less premiered at the prestigious Munich Royal Court Theatre, now the Bavarian State Opera
Bavarian State Opera
The Bavarian State Opera is an opera company based in Munich, Germany.Its orchestra is the Bavarian State Orchestra.- History:The opera company which was founded under Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy has been in existence since 1653...

 House.

A year after meeting the King, Wagner presented his latest work, Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting...

, in Munich to great acclaim. But the composer’s perceived extravagant and scandalous behaviour in the capital was unsettling for the conservative people of Bavaria, and the King was forced to ask Wagner to leave the city six months later, in December 1865.

Ludwig’s interest in theatre was by no means confined to Wagner. In 1864, he laid the foundation stone of a new Court Theatre. This theatre is nowadays called the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz is an opera house and opera company in Munich. Designed by the architect Michael Reiffenstuel, it opened on 5 November 1865 as the city's second opera house after the National Theatre....

 (Gärtnerplatz-Theater). In 1867, he appointed Karl von Perfall Director of the new theatre. Ludwig wished to introduce Munich theatre-goers to the best of European drama. Perfall, under Ludwig’s supervision, introduced the public to Shakespeare, Calderón, Mozart, Gluck, Ibsen, Weber
Weber
Weber is a surname of German origin, derived from the noun meaning "weaver". In some cases, following migration to English-speaking countries, it has been anglicised to the English surname 'Webber' or even 'Weaver'.Notable people with the surname include:...

 and many others. He also raised the standard of interpretation of Schiller, Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

 and Corneille
Pierre Corneille
Pierre Corneille was a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine...

.

Between 1872 and 1885, the King had 209 private performances (Separatvorstellungen) given for himself alone or with a guest, in the two court theatres, comprising 44 operas (28 by Wagner, including eight of Parsifal), 11 ballets and 154 plays (the principal theme being Bourbon France) at a cost of 97,300 marks. This was not due so much to misanthropy but, as the King complained to the theatre actor-manager Ernst Possart: "I can get no sense of illusion in the theatre so long as people keep staring at me, and follow my every expression through their opera-glasses. I want to look myself, not to be a spectacle for the masses."

The greatest stresses of Ludwig's early reign were pressure to produce an heir, and relations with militant Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

. Both issues came to the forefront in 1867.

Ludwig became engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria
Duchess Sophie Charlotte Augustine in Bavaria
Duchess Sophie Charlotte Augustine in Bavaria was a granddaughter-in-law of King Louis-Philippe of France, the favourite sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and fiancée of King Ludwig II of Bavaria..-Biography:...

, his cousin and the youngest sister of his dear friend, Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The engagement was publicized on 22 January 1867, but after repeatedly postponing the wedding date, Ludwig finally cancelled the engagement in October. A few days before the engagement had been announced, Sophie had received a letter from the King telling her what she already knew: "The main substance of our relationship has always been ... Richard Wagner's remarkable and deeply moving destiny." After the engagement was broken off, Ludwig wrote to his former fiancee, "My beloved Elsa! Your cruel father has torn us apart. Eternally yours, Heinrich" (the names Elsa and Heinrich came from characters from Wagner operas) Ludwig never married, but Sophie later married Ferdinand d'Orléans
Ferdinand Philippe Marie, duc d'Alençon
Ferdinand Philippe Marie, duc d'Alençon was the son of Louis Charles Philippe Raphael, duc de Nemours and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary .-Marriage and issue:...

, duc d'Alençon
Counts and dukes of Alençon
Several counts and then royal dukes of Alençon have figured in French history. The title has been awarded to a younger brother of the French sovereign.-History:...

 (1844–1910).

Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 theatre actor Josef Kainz
Josef Kainz
Josef Gottfried Ignaz Kainz was an Austrian actor of Hungarian birth. He was highly active in theatres in Austria and Germany from 1873–1910...

, and courtier Alfons Weber (born c.1862). He began keeping a diary in which he recorded his private thoughts and his attempts to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith. Ludwig's original diaries from 1869 were lost during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and all that remains today are copies of entries during the 1886 plot to depose him. These transcribed diary entries, along with private letters and other surviving personal documents, suggest that Ludwig was homosexual and struggled with his orientation throughout his life. (Homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813.) Some earlier diaries have survived in the Geheimes Hausarchiv in Munich and extracts starting in 1858 were published by Evers in 1986.

Relations with Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 took centre stage starting in 1866. During the Seven Weeks' War, which began in July, Ludwig agreed (as did several other German principalities) to take the side of Austria against Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

. When the two sides negotiated the war’s settlement, the terms required that Ludwig accept a mutual defense treaty with Prussia.

This treaty placed Bavaria back on the firing line three years later, when the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 broke out. Prussia and her allies prevailed in this conflict, and an emboldened Prussia now finished her campaign to unify all of the minor German kingdoms into one German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 under the rule of King Wilhelm I of Prussia, who would now be declared Emperor, or Kaiser
Kaiser
Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

.

At the request of Prussian Minister President Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 (and in exchange for certain financial concessions), Ludwig wrote a letter (the so-called Kaiserbrief) in December 1870 endorsing the creation of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. With the creation of the Empire, Bavaria lost its status as an independent kingdom and became another state in the empire. Ludwig attempted to protest these alterations by refusing to attend the ceremony where Wilhelm I was proclaimed the new empire's first emperor. However the Bavarian delegation under Prime Minister Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg
Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg
Otto Kamillus Hugo Gabriel Count of Bray-Steinburg was a Bavarian politician. He was a son of the diplomat François Gabriel Count of Bray who was of French origin.- Biography :...

 had secured a privileged status of the Kingdom of Bavaria within the German Empire (Reservatrechte). Within the Empire the Kingdom of Bavaria was even able to retain its own diplomatic body and its own army, which would fall under Prussian command only in times of war.

After the creation of the greater Germany, Ludwig increasingly withdrew from politics, and devoted himself to his personal creative projects, most famously his castles, where he personally approved every detail of the architecture, decoration and furnishing.

Ludwig’s castles



Ludwig was notably eccentric in ways that made serving as Bavaria’s head of state problematic. He disliked large public functions and avoided formal social events whenever possible, and preferred a life of fantasy that he pursued with various creative projects. He last inspected a military parade on 22 August 1875 and last gave a Court banquet on 10 February 1876. These idiosyncrasies caused tension with the king's government ministers, but did not cost him popularity among common Bavarians. The king enjoyed traveling in the Bavarian countryside and chatting with farmers and laborers he met along the way. He also delighted in rewarding those who were hospitable to him during his travels with lavish gifts. He is still remembered in Bavaria as Unser Kini, which means "our darling king" in the Bavarian dialect.

Ludwig also used his personal fortune (supplemented annually from 1873 by 270,000 marks from the Welfenfonds) to fund the construction of a series of elaborate castles. In 1867 he visited Viollet-le-Duc's work at Pierrefonds
Château de Pierrefonds
The Château de Pierrefonds is a castle situated in the commune of Pierrefonds in the Oise département of France. It is on the southeast edge of the Forest of Compiègne, north of Paris, between Villers-Cotterêts and Compiègne....

, and the Palace of Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

 in France, as well as the Wartburg
Wartburg
The Wartburg is a castle overlooking the town of Eisenach, Germany.Wartburg may also refer to:* Wartburgkreis, a district in Germany named after the Wartburg* Wartburg , former East German brand of automobiles, manufactured in Eisenach...

 near Eisenach in Thuringia, which largely influenced the style of their construction. These projects provided employment for many hundreds of labourers and brought a considerable flow of money to the relatively poor regions where his castles were built. Figures for the total costs between 1869 and 1886 for the building and equipping of each castle were published in 1968: Schloß Neuschwanstein 6,180,047 marks; Schloß Linderhof 8,460,937 marks (a large portion being expended on the Venus Grotto); Schloß Herrenchiemsee (from 1873) 16,579,674 marks Guide books of the time give 20 German marks = £1 sterling.

In 1868, Ludwig commissioned the first drawings for two of his buildings. The first was Schloss Neuschwanstein, or "New Swanstone Castle", a dramatic Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 fortress with soaring fairy-tale towers situated on an Alpine crag. The second was Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee...

, a replica of the palace at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

, France, which was sited on the Herren Island in the middle of the Chiemsee
Chiemsee
Chiemsee is a freshwater lake in Bavaria, Germany, between Rosenheim, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. It is often called the Bavarian Sea. The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake; the river Alz, out of it...

 Lake, and was meant to outdo its predecessor in scale and opulence, although only the central section was ever built.

The following year, he finished the construction of the royal apartment in the Residenz Palace
Residenz, Munich
The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs in the center of the city of Munich, Germany...

 in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, to which he had added an opulent conservatory or Winter Garden
Winter Garden
Winter Garden may refer to:* A winter garden, winter-hardy plants grown for winter interest and decoration, or to be harvested for food between winter and early spring.-Places:* Winter Garden, California, former community in Kern County...

 on the palace roof. It was started in 1867 as a quite small structure, but after extensions in 1868 and 1871 the dimensions reached 69.5mx17.2mx9.5m high. It featured an ornamental lake complete with skiff, a painted panorama of the Himalayas as a backdrop, an Indian fisher-hut of bamboo, a Moorish kiosk, and an exotic tent. The roof was a technically advanced metal and glass construction. The Wintergarden was closed in June 1886, partly dismantled the following year and demolished in 1897.


In 1869, Ludwig oversaw the laying of the cornerstone for Schloss Neuschwanstein on a breathtaking mountaintop site overlooking his childhood home, the castle his father had built at Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau is a village in the municipality of Schwangau, Ostallgäu district, Bavaria, Germany.It is located between Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau and is visited by about 2 million people annually, where they start tours to the former royal palaces.The village is dominated...

. The walls of Neuschwanstein are decorated with frescoes depicting scenes from the legends used in Wagner's operas, including the somewhat less than mystic Meistersinger, but not scenes from the operas themselves.

After plans for a monumental festival theatre for Wagner's opera in Munich was thwarted by Court opposition, he supported the construction 1872-6 of the Festspielhaus in the town of Bayreuth, and attended the dress rehearsal and third public performance of the complete Ring Cycle in 1876. In 1878, construction was completed on Ludwig’s Schloss Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof Palace is in Germany, in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.-Development of the building:...

, an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 style, with handsome formal gardens. The grounds contained a Venus grotto
Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

 lit by electricity, where Ludwig was rowed in a boat shaped like a shell. After seeing the Bayreuth performances Ludwig had built in the forest near Linderhof Hunding's Hut (Hundinghütte) (based on the stage set of the first act of Wagner's Die Walküre) complete with an artificial tree and a sword embedded in it. In Die Walküre, Siegfried's father Siegmund, pulls the sword from the tree. Hunding's Hut was destroyed in 1945 but a replica was constructed at Linderhof in 1990. In 1877 a small hermitage (Einsiedlei des Gurnemanz) as in the third act of Wagner's Parsifal
Parsifal
Parsifal is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, the 13th century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail.Wagner first conceived the work...

was erected near Hunding's Hut, with a meadow of spring flowers, where the king would retire to read. (A replica made in 2000 can now be seen in the park at Linderhof.) Nearby a Moroccan House, purchased at the Paris World Fair in 1878, was erected alongside the mountain road. Sold in 1891 and taken to Oberammergau it was purchased by the government in 1980 and re-erected in the park at Linderhof after extensive restoration. Inside the palace, iconography reflected Ludwig's fascination with the absolutist government of Ancien Régime France. Ludwig saw himself as the "Moon King", a romantic shadow of the earlier "Sun King", Louis XIV of France. From Linderhof, Ludwig enjoyed moonlit sleigh rides in an elaborate eighteenth century sleigh, complete with footmen in eighteenth century livery
Livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

. Also in 1878, construction began on his Versailles-derived Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee...

.

In 1879 he travelled to England and visited Sir Richard Wallace, to whom he had written for advice on England's medieval architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. Wallace advised Ludwig to take a tour of the English countryside in order to survey a variety of ecclesiastical buildings, that he might draw inspiration from them for future building projects. In a letter to Wallace, Ludwig expressed particular admiration for the buildings of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, which he toured extensively.

In the 1880s, Ludwig’s plans proceeded undimmed. He planned construction of a new castle on the Falkenstein near Pfronten in the Allgäu (a place he knew well: a diary entry for 16 Oct. 1867 reads "Falkenstein wild, romantic") (based on the tower of St Mary's Church, Baldock
Baldock
Baldock is a historic market town in the local government district of North Hertfordshire in the ceremonial county of Hertfordshire, England where the River Ivel rises. It lies north of London, southeast of Bedford, and north northwest of the county town of Hertford...

), a Byzantine palace in the Graswangtal and a Chinese summer palace by the Plansee in Tyrol
German Tyrol
German Tyrol is a historical region in the Alps now divided between Austria and Italy. It includes largely ethnic German areas of historical County of Tyrol: the Austrian state of Tyrol and the province of South Tyrol but not the largely Italian-speaking province of Trentino .-History:German...

. By 1885, a road and water supply had been provided at Falkenstein but the old ruins remained untouched; the other projects never got beyond initial plans.

Controversy and struggle for power


Although the king had paid for his pet projects out of his own funds and not the state coffers, that did not necessarily spare Bavaria from financial fallout. By 1885, the king was 14 million marks in debt, had borrowed heavily from his family, and rather than economizing, as his financial ministers advised him, he undertook new opulence and new designs without pause. He demanded that loans be sought from all of Europe's royalty, and remained aloof from matters of state. Feeling harassed and irritated by his ministers, he considered dismissing the entire cabinet and replacing them with fresh faces. The cabinet decided to act first.

Seeking a cause to depose Ludwig by constitutional means, the rebelling ministers decided on the rationale that he was mentally ill, and unable to rule. They asked Ludwig's uncle, Prince Luitpold
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria , was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II and King Otto.-Early life:...

, to step into the royal vacancy once Ludwig was deposed. Luitpold agreed, so long as the conspirators produced reliable proof that the king was in fact helplessly insane.

Between January and March 1886, the conspirators assembled the or Medical Report, on Ludwig's fitness to rule. Most of the details in the report were compiled by Count von Holnstein, who was disillusioned with Ludwig and actively sought his downfall. Holnstein used his high rank to extract a long list of complaints, accounts, and gossip about Ludwig from among the king's servants. The litany of bizarre behavior included his pathological shyness; his avoidance of state business; his complex and expensive flights of fancy, including moonlit picnics at which his young groomsmen were said to strip naked and dance; conversations with imaginary persons; sloppy and childish table manners; dispatching servants on lengthy and expensive voyages to research architectural details in foreign lands; and abusive, sometimes violent treatment of his servants.

While some of these accusations were perhaps accurate, exactly which, and to what degree, may never be known. They were, however, sufficient to convince Prince Luitpold to cooperate. Next the conspirators approached the Prussian Minister-President, Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, who doubted the report's veracity, but did not stop the ministers from carrying out their plan.

In early June, the report was finalized and signed by a panel of four psychiatrists: Dr. Bernhard von Gudden
Bernhard von Gudden
Johann Bernhard Aloys von Gudden was a German neuroanatomist and psychiatrist born in Kleve.In 1848 he earned his doctorate from the University of Halle, and became an intern at the asylum in Siegburg under Carl Wigand Maximilian Jacobi...

, chief of the Munich Asylum; Dr Hubert von Grashey (who was Gudden's son-in-law); and their colleagues, a Dr. Hagen and a Dr. Hubrich. The report declared in its final sentences that the king suffered from paranoia
Paranoia
Paranoia [] is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself...

, and concluded, "Suffering from such a disorder, freedom of action can no longer be allowed and Your Majesty is declared incapable of ruling, which incapacity will be not only for a year's duration, but for the length of Your Majesty's life." The men had never met the king except Gudden once twelve years ago, nor examined him.

Deposition



At 4 a.m. on 10 June 1886, a government commission including Holnstein and von Gudden arrived at Neuschwanstein to formally deliver the document of deposition to the king and place him in custody. Tipped off an hour or two earlier by a faithful servant, his coachman Fritz Osterholzer, Ludwig ordered the local police to protect him, and the commissioners were turned back at the castle gate at gun-point. In an especially famous sideshow, the commissioners were attacked by 47-year-old local baroness (Spera von Truchseß) loyal to the king, who flailed at the men with her umbrella and then rushed to the king’s apartments to identify the conspirators. Ludwig then had the commissioners arrested, but after holding them captive for several hours, had them released later on 10 June.

That same day, the Government publicly proclaimed Luitpold as Prince Regent. The king’s friends and allies urged him to flee, or to show himself in Munich and thus regain the support of the people. Ludwig hesitated, instead issuing a statement, allegedly drafted by his aide-de-camp Count Alfred Dürckheim, which was published by a Bamberg newspaper on 11 June:
The Prince Luitpold intends, against my will, to ascend to the Regency of my land, and my erstwhile ministry has, through false allegations regarding the state of my health, deceived my beloved people, and is preparing to commit acts of high treason. [...] I call upon every loyal Bavarian to rally around my loyal supporters to thwart the planned treason against the King and the fatherland.


The government succeeded in suppressing the statement by seizing most copies of the newspaper and handbills. Anton Sailer's pictorial biography of the King prints a photograph of this rare document. (The authenticity of the Royal Proclamation is doubted however, as it is dated 9 June, before the Commission arrived, it uses "I" instead of the royal "We" and there are orthographic errors.) As the king dithered, his support waned. Peasants who rallied to his cause were dispersed, and the police who guarded his castle were replaced by a police detachment of 36 men who sealed off all entrances to the castle.

Eventually the king decided he would like to escape, but it was too late. In the early hours of 12 June, a second commission arrived. The King was seized just after midnight and at 4 a.m. taken to a waiting carriage. He had asked Dr. Gudden, "How can you declare me insane? After all, you have never seen or examined me before." only to be told that "it was unnecessary; the documentary evidence [servants' tittle-tattle] is very copious and completely substantiated. It is overwhelming." Ludwig was transported to Castle Berg
Castle Berg (Lake Starnberg)
The Castle of Berg is situated at the east bank of Lake Starnberg in the village of Berg in Upper Bavaria.- History :The estate was acquired by Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria in 1676 who ordered the construction the Castle of Berg. It was the venue of numerous festivities also under his...

 on the shores of Lake Starnberg
Lake Starnberg
Lake Starnberg , 25 kilometers southwest of Munich in southern Bavaria, is Germany's fifth largest freshwater lake and, due to its large average depth, the second richest in water...

, south of Munich.

Mysterious death


On 13 June 1886, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig asked Gudden to accompany him on a walk through the Schloß Berg parkland along the shore of Lake Starnberg. Gudden agreed; the walk may even have been his suggestion, and he told the nurses not to accompany them. His words were ambiguous ("Es darf kein Pfleger mit gehen") and whether they were meant to follow at a discreet distance is not clear. The two men were last seen at about 6:30; they were due back at eight but never returned. After searches were made for more than three hours by the entire castle personnel in a gale with heavy rain, at 11:30 that night the bodies of both the King and Gudden were found, floating in the shallow water near the shore. The King's watch had stopped at 6:54. Gendarmes patrolling the park had heard and seen nothing.

Ludwig's death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, but this has been questioned. Ludwig was known to be a strong swimmer in his youth, the water was less than waist-deep where his body was found, and the official autopsy
Autopsy
An autopsy—also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy , autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present...

 report indicated that no water was found in his lungs. Ludwig had expressed suicidal feelings during the crisis, but the suicide theory does not fully explain Gudden's death. Gudden's body showed signs of strangulation and of a struggle, leading to the suspicion that he was strangled to death by Ludwig.


Many hold that Ludwig was murdered by his enemies while attempting to escape from Berg. One account suggests that the king was shot. The King's personal fisherman, Jakob Lidl (1864–1933), stated, "Three years after the king's death I was made to swear an oath that I would never say certain things — not to my wife, not on my deathbed, and not to any priest ... The state has undertaken to look after my family if anything should happen to me in either peace time or war." Lidl kept his oath, at least orally, but left behind notes which were found after his death. According to Lidl, he had hidden behind bushes with his boat, waiting to meet the king, in order to row him out into the lake, where loyalists were waiting to help him escape. "As the king stepped up to his boat and put one foot in it, a shot rang out from the bank, apparently killing him on the spot, for the king fell across the bow of the boat." However, the autopsy report indicates no scars or wounds found on the body of the dead king; on the other hand, many years later Countess Jospehine von Wrba-Kaunitz would show her afternoon tea guests a grey Loden coat with two bullet holes in the back, asserting it was the one Ludwig was wearing. Another theory suggests that Ludwig died of natural causes (such as a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 or stroke
Stroke
A stroke, previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident , is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia caused by blockage , or a hemorrhage...

) brought on by the extreme cold (12°C) of the lake during an escape attempt.

Ludwig’s remains were dressed in the regalia of the Order of Saint Hubert
Order of Saint Hubert (Bavarian)
The Bavarian Order of Saint Hubert was founded in 1444 or 1445 by Gerhard V, Duke of Jülich and Count of Ravensberg. He sought to commemorate his victory over the House of Egmond at the Battle of Linnich on 3 November, which is Saint Hubert's day....

, and lay in state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace. In his right hand he held a posy of white jasmine picked for him by his cousin the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. After an elaborate funeral on 19 June 1886, Ludwig's remains were interred in the crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

 of the Michaelskirche
St. Michael's Church, Munich
St Michael is a Jesuit church in Munich, southern Germany, the largest Renaissance church north of the Alps. The style of the building had an enormous influence on Southern German early Baroque architecture.-Architecture:...

 in Munich. His heart, however, does not lie with the rest of his body. Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Mercy) in Altötting
Altötting
Altötting is a town in Bavaria, capital of the district Altötting.This small town is famous for the Gnadenkapelle , one of the most-visited shrines in Germany. This is a tiny octagonal chapel which keeps a venerated statue of the Virgin Mary...

, where it was placed beside those of his father and grandfather.

Three years after his death, a small memorial chapel was built overlooking the site and a cross erected in the lake. A remembrance ceremony is held there each year on 13 June.

The King was succeeded by his brother Otto, but since Otto was genuinely incapacitated by mental illness, the king's uncle Luitpold
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria
Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria , was the de facto ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1912, due to the incapacity of his nephews, King Ludwig II and King Otto.-Early life:...

 remained regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

.

Legacy


Most historians believe that Ludwig was deeply peculiar and irresponsible, but the question of clinical insanity
Insanity
Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves and others, though not all such acts are considered insanity...

 remains unresolved. The brain researcher Heinz Häfner disagreed that there were signs for insanity. Others believe he may have suffered from the effects of chloroform
Chloroform
Chloroform is an organic compound with formula CHCl3. It is one of the four chloromethanes. The colorless, sweet-smelling, dense liquid is a trihalomethane, and is considered somewhat hazardous...

 used in an effort to control chronic toothache rather than any psychological disorder. His cousin Empress Elisabeth held that "The King was not mad; he was just an eccentric living in a world of dreams. They might have treated him more gently, and thus perhaps spared him so terrible an end."

King Ludwig’s uncle Luitpold maintained the regency until his own death in 1912 at the age of 91. He was succeeded as regent by his eldest son, also named Ludwig. The regency lasted for 13 months until November 1913, when the new regent, Ludwig, declared the regency at an end, deposed the still-living but still-institutionalized King Otto, and declared himself King Ludwig III of Bavaria
Ludwig III of Bavaria
Ludwig III , was the last King of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918.-Early life:...

. His reign lasted until the end of the First World War, when monarchy in all of Germany came to an end.

Today visitors pay tribute to King Ludwig by visiting his grave as well as his castles. Ironically, the very castles which were said to be causing the king’s financial ruin have today become extremely profitable tourist attractions for the Bavarian state. The palaces, given to Bavaria by Ludwig III's son Crown Prince Rupprecht in 1923, have paid for themselves many times over and attract millions of tourists from all over the world to Germany each year.

Buildings


It is not surprising that Ludwig II had a great interest in building. His paternal grandfather, King Ludwig I, had largely rebuilt Munich. It was known as the 'Athens on the Isar'. His father, King Maximilian II had also continued with more construction in Munich as well as the construction of Hohenschwangau Castle, the childhood home of Ludwig II, near the future Neuschwanstein Castle of Ludwig II. Ludwig II had planned to build a large opera house on the banks of the Isar river in Munich. This plan was vetoed by the Bavarian government. Using similar plans, a festival theatre was built later in his reign from Ludwig's personal finances at Bayreuth.
  • Winter Garden
    Winter Garden
    Winter Garden may refer to:* A winter garden, winter-hardy plants grown for winter interest and decoration, or to be harvested for food between winter and early spring.-Places:* Winter Garden, California, former community in Kern County...

    , Residenz Palace
    Residenz, Munich
    The Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs in the center of the city of Munich, Germany...

    , Munich
    Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

    , an elaborate winter garden built on the roof of the Residenz Palace in Munich. It featured an ornamental lake with gardens and painted frescos. It was roofed over using a technically advanced metal and glass construction. After the death of Ludwig II, it was dismantled in 1897 due to water leaking from the ornamental lake through the ceiling of the rooms below. Photographs and sketches still record this incredible creation which included a grotto, a Moorish kiosk, an Indian royal tent, an artificially illuminated rainbow and intermittent moonlight.

  • Neuschwanstein Castle, or "New Swan Stone Castle", a dramatic Romanesque
    Romanesque architecture
    Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

     fortress with Byzantine
    Byzantine architecture
    Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

    , Romanesque and Gothic
    Gothic architecture
    Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

     interiors, which was built high above his father's castle: Hohenschwangau
    Schloss Hohenschwangau
    Hohenschwangau Castle or Schloss Hohenschwangau is a 19th century palace in southern Germany. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria...

    . Numerous wall paintings depict scenes from the legends Wagner used in his operas. Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     glory and chaste love figure predominantly in the iconography, and may have been intended to help Ludwig live up to his religious ideals, but the bedroom decoration depicts the illicit love of Tristan & Isolde (after Gottfried von Strasbourg's poem). The castle was not finished at Ludwig's death; the Kemenate was completed in 1892 but the watch-tower and chapel were only at the foundation stage in 1886 and were never built. The residence quarters of the King - which he first occupied in May 1884 - can be visited along with the servant's rooms, kitchens as well as the monumental throne room. Unfortunately the throne was never completed although sketches show how it might have looked on completion.
    Neuschwanstein Castle is a landmark well known by many non-Germans, and was used by Walt Disney in the twentieth century as the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle
    Sleeping Beauty Castle
    Sleeping Beauty Castle is the fairy tale structure castle at the center of Disneyland Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. It is based on the late-19th century Neuschwanstein Castle,with some French inspirations .-Disneyland version:Opened July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all Disney castles...

    s at Disneylands around the world. The castle has had over 50 million visitors since it was opened to the public on 1 August 1886, including 1.3 million in 2008 alone.

  • Linderhof Castle
    Linderhof
    Linderhof Palace is in Germany, in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.-Development of the building:...

    , an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo
    Rococo
    Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

     style, with handsome formal gardens. Just north of the palace, at the foot of the Hennenkopf, the park contains a Venus grotto
    Grotto
    A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

     where Ludwig was rowed in a shell-like boat on an underground lake lit with red, green or "Capri" blue effects by electricity, a novelty at that time, provided by one of the first generating plants in Bavaria. Stories of private musical performances here are probably apochryphal; nothing is known for certain. In the forest nearby a romantic wooded hut was also built around an artificial tree (see Hundinghütte above). Inside the palace, iconography reflects Ludwig's fascination with the absolutist government of Ancien Régime France. Ludwig saw himself as the "Moon King", a romantic shadow of the earlier "Sun King", Louis XIV of France. From Linderhof, Ludwig enjoyed moonlit sleigh rides in an elaborate eighteenth century sleigh, complete with footmen in eighteenth century livery
    Livery
    A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

    . He was known to stop and visit with rural peasants while on rides, adding to his legend and popularity. The sleigh can today be viewed with other royal carriages and sleds at the Carriage Museum (Marstallmusem) at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. Its lantern was illuminated by electricity supplied by a battery. There is also a Moorish Pavilion in the park of Schloß Linderhof.

  • Herrenchiemsee
    Herrenchiemsee
    Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee...

    , a replica (although only the central section was ever built) of Louis XIV's palace at Versailles
    Versailles
    Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

    , France, which was meant to outdo its predecessor in scale and opulence - for instance, at 98 meters the Hall of Mirrors is a third longer than the original. The palace is located on the Herren Island in the middle of the Chiemsee
    Chiemsee
    Chiemsee is a freshwater lake in Bavaria, Germany, between Rosenheim, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. It is often called the Bavarian Sea. The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake; the river Alz, out of it...

     Lake. Most of the palace was never completed once the king ran out of money, and Ludwig lived there for only 10 days in October 1885, less than a year before his mysterious death. It is interesting to note that tourists come from France to view the recreation of the famous Ambassadors' Staircase. The original Ambassadors' Staircase at Versailles was demolished in 1752.

  • Ludwig also outfitted Schachen king's house with an overwhelmingly decorative Arabian
    Arabian Peninsula
    The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

     style interior, including a replica of the famous Peacock Throne
    Peacock Throne
    The Peacock Throne, called Takht-e Tâvus in Persian, is the name originally given to a Mughal throne of India, which was later adopted and used to describe the thrones of the Persian emperors from Nader Shah Afshari and erroneously to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi whose throne was a reconstruction of...

    . There are allegations of luxurious parties with the king sometimes reclining in the role of Turkish
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

     sultan
    Sultan
    Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

     while the most handsome soldiers and stable boys served him as scantily clad dancers.

  • Falkenstein, a planned, but never executed "robber baron's castle" in the Gothic style. A painting by Christian Jank
    Christian Jank
    Christian Jank , was a German scenic painter notable for his palace designs for King Ludwig II of Bavaria.Jank was born on 15 July 1833 in Munich, the Bavarian capital....

     shows the proposed building as an even more fairytale version of Neuschwanstein, perched on a rocky cliff high above Castle Neuschwanstein.


Ludwig II left behind a large collection of plans and designs for other castles that were never built, as well as plans for further rooms in his completed buildings. Many of these designs are housed today in the King Ludwig II Museum at Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee is a complex of royal buildings on the Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake, 60 km south east of Munich. Together with the neighbouring island of Frauenchiemsee and the uninhabited Krautinsel it forms the municipality of Chiemsee...

 Castle. These building designs date from the latter part of the King's reign, beginning around 1883. As money was starting to run out, the artists knew that their designs would never be executed. The designs became more extravagant and numerous as the artists realized that there was no need to concern themselves with economy or practicality.

Ludwig and the arts



It has been said that Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

’s late career is part of Ludwig’s legacy, since he almost certainly would have been unable to complete his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner . The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied...

or to write his final opera, Parsifal
Parsifal
Parsifal is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, the 13th century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival and his quest for the Holy Grail, and on Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail.Wagner first conceived the work...

, without the king’s support.

Ludwig also sponsored the premieres of Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting...

, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is an opera in three acts, written and composed by Richard Wagner. It is among the longest operas still commonly performed today, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater in Munich, on June 21,...

, and, through his financial support of the Bayreuth Festival
Bayreuth Festival
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner are presented...

, those of Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.

Ludwig provided Munich with its Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz is an opera house and opera company in Munich. Designed by the architect Michael Reiffenstuel, it opened on 5 November 1865 as the city's second opera house after the National Theatre....

, establishing a lasting tradition of performing the best of European drama.

Literature, stage and film

  • The 1972 film
    Film
    A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

     Ludwig
    Ludwig (film)
    Ludwig is a 1972 film directed by Italian director Luchino Visconti about the life and death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Visconti's muse, Helmut Berger, stars as Ludwig, while Romy Schneider reprises her role as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in a very different portrayal compared to her role in...

    , directed by Luchino Visconti
    Luchino Visconti
    Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard and Death in Venice .-Life:...

     was based on his life. It traces the life of Ludwig II from his accession to death, and stars Helmut Berger
    Helmut Berger
    Helmut Berger is an Austrian-born German film and television actor. He is most famous for his work with Luchino Visconti, particularly in his performance as King Ludwig II of Bavaria in Ludwig, for which he received a special David di Donatello award.He appears primarily in European cinema, but...

     as Ludwig II and Romy Schneider
    Romy Schneider
    Romy Schneider was an Austrian-born German film actress who also held French citizenship.-Early life:Schneider was born Rosemarie Magdalena Albach in Nazi-era Vienna, six months after the Anschluss, into a family of actors that included her paternal grandmother Rosa Albach-Retty, her Austrian...

     as the Austrian Empress Elisabeth.

  • The 1972 German film Ludwig - Requiem für einen jungfräulichen König (Ludwig - Requiem for a Virgin King), written and directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg
    Hans-Jürgen Syberberg
    Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is a German film director, whose best known film is his lengthy feature, Hitler: A Film from Germany.- Early life :...

     provides a more personal, sympathetic and idiosyncratic account of the King's life from his boyhood to his death. It stars Harry Baer and Balthasar Thomass as Ludwig II, and Gerhard Maerz and Anette Tirier as Richard Wagner
    Richard Wagner
    Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

    .

  • An earlier film, directed by Helmut Kautner, entitled Ludwig II (1955), starred O. W. Fischer
    O. W. Fischer
    Otto Wilhelm Fischer was an Austrian actor. A leading man of German cinema, he began his career with Max Reinhardt's stage company....

     in the role of Ludwig II and Ruth Leuwerik
    Ruth Leuwerik
    Ruth Leuwerik is a German film actress. She appeared in 34 films between 1950 and 1977. Leuwerik is probably best known for her portrayal of Maria von Trapp in the films The Trapp Family and The Trapp Family in America. In the 1950s she and Dieter Borsche were considered as the ideal couple of the...

     in the role of Empress Elizabeth.

  • An epic film, Wagner (1983), directed by Tony Palmer
    Tony Palmer
    Tony Palmer is an American football guard in the National Football League who is currently a free agent. The former University of Missouri guard who was selected by the St. Louis Rams. He was signed by the Green Bay Packers after being cut in the 2006 preseason by St. Louis...

     for the London Cultural Trust, on the life of Richard Wagner
    Richard Wagner
    Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

    , starring Richard Burton
    Richard Burton
    Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

     in the role of Wagner, also features Laszlo Galffi
    Laszlo Galffi
    László Gálffi is a Hungarian actor. He was born in Budapest.One of his better known roles is that of King Ludwig II of Bavaria in Tony Palmer's epic film production of Wagner, in which Galffi acted alongside cinema greats Richard Burton, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa...

     in the substantial role of King Ludwig.

  • The early 21st century play Valhalla by playwright Paul Rudnick
    Paul Rudnick
    Paul M. Rudnick is an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist. His plays include I Hate Hamlet, Jeffrey, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla and The New Century. He also wrote for Premiere magazine under the pseudonym Libby Gelman-Waxner, and for Spy.Rudnick grew up in Piscataway...

     prominently features Ludwig as the play unfolds in 19th century Bavaria and 1940s Texas.

  • A play by Jordan Harrison, "Doris to Darlene: A Cautionary Valentine," features Ludwig II and his relationship with Wagner as two central characters. It premiered at Playwrights Horizons in New York in December 2007.

  • The three-volume manga
    Manga
    Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

     series Ludwig II
    Ludwig II (manga)
    is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by You Higuri. It is licensed in North America by Digital Manga Publishing, which released the first volume of the manga on 10 June 2009, and the second on 23 September 2009. It is licensed in France and Germany by Panini Comics, although it is now out...

    (ルートヴィヒII世) by the artist You Higuri
    You Higuri
    is a Japanese shōjo and yaoi manga artist who has made several appearances at anime and manga conventions in the United States, as well as in Germany. Her first U.S. appearance was at the initial Yaoi-Con in San Francisco in 2001...

    , published by Kadokawa Shoten
    Kadokawa Shoten
    is a well-known Japanese publishing company based in Tokyo, Japan. Kadokawa has published both manga novels and magazines, such as Newtype magazine...

    , is a highly fictionalized account of Ludwig's love life.

  • The Busch Gardens Europe
    Busch Gardens Europe
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a 383 acre theme park located in James City County, Virginia about 3 miles southeast of Williamsburg, originally developed by Anheuser-Busch and currently owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a division of The Blackstone Group...

     ride The Curse of DarKastle
    The Curse of DarKastle
    The Curse of DarKastle is a 21st century dark ride located at Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is a hybrid ride, combining roving motion-simulating vehicles, 3D videos projected onto screens, physical sets, in-vehicle music and special effects , all perfectly synchronized...

     features Ludwig as a king whose parents, and later, party guests "mysteriously disappeared", and who now haunts his old castle terrorizing guests riding golden sleighs. As with Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within, werewolves figure in the ride.

  • Takarazuka Revue
    Takarazuka Revue
    The Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales. The troupe takes its name...

     has adopted the life of the emperor for a musical production.

  • Ludwig figures in The Alabaster Egg, a novel by Gillian Freeman
    Gillian Freeman
    Gillian Freeman is a British writer.Born in London, daughter of Dr. Jack Freeman and his wife, she graduated in English Language and Literature from the University of Reading in 1951. She married Edward Thorpe, novelist and ballet critic of the Evening Standard, in 1955. They have two daughters...

    .

  • There is an anecdote of the death of Ludwig II by T. S. Eliot
    T. S. Eliot
    Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

     in the first stanza of The Waste Land
    The Waste Land
    The Waste Land[A] is a 434-line[B] modernist poem by T. S. Eliot published in 1922. It has been called "one of the most important poems of the 20th century." Despite the poem's obscurity—its shifts between satire and prophecy, its abrupt and unannounced changes of speaker, location and time, its...

    .

  • Sharyn McCrumb
    Sharyn McCrumb
    Sharyn McCrumb is an American writer whose books celebrate the history and folklore of Appalachia. McCrumb is the winner of numerous literary awards, and the author of the Elizabeth McPherson series, the Ballad series, and the St...

    's 1984 mystery novel Sick of Shadows features a character who identifies with Ludwig II and builds a replica of Neuschwanstein castle in Georgia. The novel also acts out a few more disturbing incidents from Ludwig's life.

  • The 1993 novel Sherlock in Love by Sena Jeter Naslund features an appearance by the Mad King Ludwig.

  • In the 1993 film Ludwig 1881, Helmut Berger reprises his role as Ludwig II in an episode involving the actor Josef Kainz, who is invited to accompany the king on a cruise on a Swiss lake, in order to recreate scenes from a story which actually took place around the lake.

  • The story of Ludwig II is discussed by the characters of the 1947 novel Doktor Faustus
    Doktor Faustus
    Doctor Faustus is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 as Doktor Faustus. Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde Doctor Faustus (in German, Doktor Faustus) is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and...

     by Thomas Mann
    Thomas Mann
    Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual...

    , in chapter XL.

  • Ludvig II is a prominent character in the 1995 computer game Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within.

Music


A number of musicals based on the life of Ludwig II have been staged. One was called, Ludwig: The Musical by Rolf Rettburg and another, Ludwig II: Longing For Paradise with music by Franz Hummel
Franz Hummel
Franz Hummel is a German composer and pianist.From his youth, Hummel was interested in music and, in particular, the works of Richard Strauss, Eugen Papst and Hans Knappertsbusch. In Munich and Salzburg he studied both composition and piano...

 and lyrics by Stephen Barbarino. A special theatre was constructed on the shores of the lake at Fussen, not far from Castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, specifically for the musical performances.

The Clean
The Clean
The Clean are an influential Indie rock band that formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1978. Led through a number of early rotating line-ups by brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, the band settled down to their well-known and current line-up with bassist Robert Scott...

's spoken-word song Ludwig, and Amon Duul II's 1975 song of the same name are about him.

The electronic duo Matmos
Matmos
Matmos is an experimental electronic music duo originally from San Francisco but now residing in Baltimore signed to the Matador Records label. M. C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel are the core members, but they frequently include other artists on their records and in their performances, including...

 recorded a song entitled "Banquet for King Ludwig II of Bavaria" on their 2006 album The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast
The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast
The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast is the sixth full-length album by Matmos. The concept of the album is that each song is dedicated to a person who has influenced the duo, which is reflected in the songs themselves; "Rag for William S...

.

Electronic music composer Klaus Schulze
Klaus Schulze
Klaus Schulze is a German electronic music composer and musician. He also used the alias Richard Wahnfried. He was briefly a member of the electronic bands Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades.-1970s:In...

 wrote the song "Ludwig II von Bayern" on his album X
X (Klaus Schulze album)
-Personnel:* Klaus Schulze – electronics, percussion * Harald Grosskopf – drum kit* Wolfgang Tiepold – cello , conductor...

, a concept album of six "musical biographies" evoking contemporary or historical intellectuals with an influence on Schulze.

In 2010, the German power metal group Freedom Call
Freedom Call
Freedom Call is a German power metal band formed in 1998.-Biography:Freedom Call was formed in 1998 by old friends Chris Bay and Daniel Zimmermann during an off-period for the latter's main band, Gamma Ray...

 released a concept album about the life of King Ludwig II, called Legend of the Shadowking
Legend of the Shadowking
-Credits:*Chris Bay – vocals, guitar*Lars Rettkowitz – guitar*Samy Saemann – bass guitar*Dan Zimmermann – drums...

.

Ancestors





External links