Linderhof is the only major building project that King Ludwig II (1845-1886) lived to see completed (1880). The name Royal Villa (Königliche Villa) at that time alludes to the building’s role model: the upper middle-class villa of the 19th century. However, the splendour and sophistication of the design of Linderhof Palace’s façade and interiors no longer have anything to do with these models. The role model here was the "maison de plaisance", which originated in France in the 18th century and was represented in southern Germany with particularly elaborate and high-quality examples.
The concept design for the façades changed diametrically during construction: from a hidden refuge to grand ruler architecture. Inside, Rococo unfolds with contents from the time of Louis XV of France (1710-1774). The imagery for the rooms is also indebted to the history and people of the Ancien Régime.
However, Ludwig II’s Second Rococo or Neo-rococo is strongly influenced in its ornamentation by southern German models: he adopted motifs from the Rococo of his own Wittelsbach ancestors, especially from the Amalienburg in Nymphenburg Palace Park and from the Rich Rooms in the Munich Residence. At Linderhof Palace, Ludwig II created rooms of phantasmagorical opulence that far surpassed all models.
Uwe Gerd Schatz
Romanticism had developed new ways of thinking and seeing. Medieval castle ruins became symbols of history, which became increasingly important in the course of the 19th century; people adopted historical building and art styles and built, designed and wrote "historically".
The idea of the "perfection" of styles and therefore also of history became decisive: what history had left behind in ruins was to be "rebuilt", but in a "purer style" and with the help of all modern technical achievements. Neuschwanstein is the world’s best-known example of this spirit of historicism.
However, Ludwig II was certainly a child of his time with this view, and so Neuschwanstein not only has role models, but also several relatives. It becomes unique through its owner-builder’s claim to absolutism in itself and his counter world. He also used the visual and performing arts, sculpture, painting, theatre, more consistently than anyone else to evoke an ideal Middle Ages.
Neuschwanstein was called "Neue Burg" (New Castle) during Ludwig II’s lifetime. "Neuschwanstein" is first attested just shortly before his death and only really became established after his death.
Uwe Gerd Schatz
In 1878 Ludwig II had a copy of the Palace of Versailles built on the Herreninsel in Lake Chiemsee as a "temple of fame" in honour of the Sun King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715), i.e. a monument to absolutist royalty without any practical function.
The architect Georg Dollmann (1830-1895) had to study the model and also reconstruct rooms that had long since ceased to exist in Versailles. The main rooms are the pinnacle of the 19th century art of decoration, incomparably more sumptuously furnished than in Versailles. The abundance and quality of the porcelain decoration is without comparison. Embroidery, too, has never been seen before or since in such splendour. One of the great ideas of the 19th century, the "perfection" of historical styles, has found its grandest expression in this building.
The park, designed by Carl von Effner (1831-1884) based on the Versailles model, was to encompass a large part of the island. By the time Ludwig II died in 1886, only the central axis had been completed with its grandiose water features. The castle also remained uncompleted. The exterior of the northern side wing was largely completed, the southern side wing did not get beyond the foundations. Both were demolished in 1907 merely for reasons of symmetry.
Uwe Gerd Schatz