Thank You for creating us and this wonderful world to explore. Yesterday I wrote about Richard Wagner and a picture of understanding this great personality demands a link with Bavaria’s “Maerchenkoenig” (or “Fairy-tale King”) Ludwig II.
“Even the most superficial study of Wagner’s life reveals the crucial role that Ludvig played… The French poet and aesthete, Robert de Montesquiou, had idolized Ludwig, kept a framed envelope addressed in the King’s hand, and built follies in the grounds of his chateau in emulation of his hero. for Ludvig had been a great builder of extravagant edifices”, I am reading in “The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria” by Christopher McIntosh
“So here was a man who had been Wagner’s greatest devotee, who had built amazing castles, who had been a hero of the decadent French aesthetes and the nineties, and about whom there was more than a whiff of mystery and scandal,” Christopher continues.
“Today, Ludwig remains famous for the castles he built and attempted to build, most notably Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high in the Alpine foothills. The king was a romantic, a friend and suporter of composer Richard Wagner, and he hired theatrical set designers rather than architects to design his castles,” I am reading in The Atlantic. This article is very good with photos I highly recommend it if you would like to see more photos.
“Even before he died, the king had already become something of a legend. “I want to remain an eternal mystery to myself and others”, Ludwig once told his governess, and it is this mysterious element that still fascinates people today.
The poet Paul Verlaine called Ludwig II the “only true king of this century”. The shy dreamer, who had none of the typical characteristics of a popular king, lives on, still idolized, as “the Kini”.
“Ludwig enjoyed dressing up … took pleasure in play acting, loved pictures and the like … and liked … making presents of his property, money and other possessions”, said his mother. This was not to change. His vivid imagination, his tendency to isolate himself, and his pronounced sense of sovereignty were also already evident when Ludwig was a child.
Crown Prince Ludwig was already fascinated by the music dramas and writings of Richard Wagner. He wanted to bring the composer to Munich as soon as he became king, and realize his dream of an opera festival. In 1864 he summoned Wagner to him and thus rescued him from a serious financial crisis.
“… Today I was brought to him. He is unfortunately so beautiful and wise, soulful and lordly, that I fear his life must fade away like a divine dream in this base world … You cannot imagine the magic of his regard: if he remains alive it will be a great miracle!” wrote the composer after his first meeting.
In the following years, Munich became the music capital of Europe with the premieres of “Tristan und Isolde” (1865), “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (1868), “Das Rheingold” (1869) and “Die Walküre” (1870). Ludwig II thus continued the patronage tradition of the House of Wittelsbach in grand style.
Ludwig II was possessed by the idea of a holy kingdom by the Grace of God. In reality he was a constitutional monarch, a head of state with rights and duties and little freedom of action. For this reason he built a fantasy world around him in which – far removed from reality – he could feel he was a real king. From 1875 on he lived at night and slept during the day.
Ludwig II increasingly identified himself with Parzival, the legendary medieval figure who became Grail King through his purity and faith and thereby redeemed his sinladen uncle. The inner battle for freedom from sin and purity is distressingly evident in the diaries of the extremely pious king. This particular legend is the subject of Richard Wagner’s last work “Parsifal”, which he began in 1877. Wagner and his circle privately referred to the king as “Parsifal”, and his problems were incorporated into the drama of the Grail. Neuschwanstein, originally a monument to the minnesingers of medieval times, was reinterpreted as the Castle of the Holy Grail and the Throne Room was redesigned as the Hall of the Holy Grail – dedicated to the mystery of salvation for the world.
The “ideal monarchical poetic solitude” which the king chose for himself was not in the long run compatible with his duties as a head of state. The new settings he was constantly devising for himself were equally beyond the private means of a king. Ludwig failed through his desire to anchor his illusions and dreams in reality.
From 1885 on foreign banks threatened to seize his property. The king’s refusal to react rationally led the government to declare him insane and depose him in 1886 – a procedure not provided for in the Bavarian constitution. Ludwig II was interned in Berg Palace. The next day he died in mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg, together with the psychiatrist who had certified him as insane.” What’s the fascinating story!
We have been in Bavaria and I am happy to share with you some photos of this fantastic and magic place.
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