Enfilade

Trio of Shows on Queen Luise of Prussia

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 18, 2010

Luise: The Life and Legend of the Queen
Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin, March 6 – May 30, 2010

Josef Grassi, "Queen Luise," 1802

Femininity – beauty – power: This combination has fascinated mankind for millennia. It is a mixture that was and is the basis of countless myths. On the threshold of the modern age, the myth of the Prussian Queen Luise (1776–1810) first originated through media-related means and it lives on to this day. The 200th anniversary of the death of the most popular woman in Prussia in 2010 is providing the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg (Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg) with an opportunity to trace one of the most obstinate legends of German history. Three exhibitions set at her personal, historical locations illuminate the most diverse aspects of Luise’s life and the legends surrounding her.

The exhibition at Charlottenburg is dedicated to various facets of Luise. Her beauty and grace, her naturalness and her harmonious family life turned her into a legend within her own lifetime. Her efforts towards decisive political reforms and her opposition to Napoleon made her into a symbol of hope during Prussia’s “difficult period” at the beginning of the 19th century. Following her early death at age 34, a legend developed around her, which is without precedent in Germany and which reached its climax in the Empire after 1871.

More than 200 paintings, sculptures and historical documents, including masterpieces by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Johann Gottfried Schadow and Christian Daniel Rauch, invite visitors to become more familiar with the life and legacy of the queen.

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Luise: The Queen’s Island World
Peacock Island, Park Buildings and the Dairy, Berlin, 1 May – 31 October 2010

The romantic Havel River island, regarded as one of Queen Luise of Prussia’s and her family’s favorite locations, was used to enjoy life in the great outdoors. In 2010, the park landscape designed by Peter Joseph Lenné will be the scene of an innovative exhibition project, where international artists, under the direction of the artist Michael Lukas (Munich), deal with the history, the atmosphere of the location and Queen Luise as a person. In addition to the Palace and the Dairy, in Luise’s Year in 2010, park buildings that were not accessible to the public will open their gates for the first time. Today, Peacock Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a protected landscape and a Habitats Directive of the EU.

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Luise: The Queen’s Clothes
Paretz Palace and Royal Coach House, 31 July – 31 October 2010

Queen Luise, famous for her beauty, was quite conscious of her charms. She knew how to underscore her physical advantages in a natural, sensuous and occasionally liberal way with graceful, Empire-style dresses inspired by the forms of antiquity. The exhibition at Paretz Palace, once the summer residence of the royal family, shows outfits and accessories that belonged to the queen, as well as a selection of her portraits and further artifacts in the form of sculptures, graphic folios and letters. The intimate surroundings of the royal living spaces with their precious wallpapers allow the fascination with Luise to come alive, while simultaneously spanning a panorama of that epoch’s fashions.

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Coverage in The Art Newspaper is quite positive:

Readers should not be put off by the press and marketing hype, with its inevitably crass journalistic references and comparisons to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, the Empress Sisi von Habsburg, beauty contestants, “celebrities” and “icons.” This is a well researched exhibition about a minor historical figure on whom were projected so many aspirations and ideals as to make her more significant than her own life and deeds warrant.

For the full description, click here»