Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Gallery of Beauties

A tour in Munich, Bavaria is certainly not complete without a visit to the imposing Nymphenburg Palace. The palace was used to be the summer residence of the Kings of Bavaria, and it is now famous not only for its collection of artworks, but also for housing the Schönheitengalerie or the Gallery of Beauties.

The Gallery of Beauties is a collection of 36 portraits of the most beautiful women in Munich. The portraits were commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, a man known for his eccentricity and his love for beauty. German portrait painter Joseph Stieler painted the 36 portraits, featuring women from royalty (including King Ludwig's relations), nobility, and middle-classes, the latter group were shown wearing elaborate dresses and hair accessories despite their humble backgrounds. In 1861, Friedrich Durck painted two more portraits for the Gallery of Beauties (the portraits of Anna Greiner and Carlotta von Breidbach-Bürresheim).

Auguste Strobl
Auguste was the daughter of a royal Bavarian chief accountant. It is unknown
how she came to King Ludwig I's attention, but apparently, he was smitten
by her beauty that he wrote poems to her and had her portrait painted. This is Auguste's
second portrait by Joseph Stieler - the first portrait overemphasized Auguste's
neck that it displeased Ludwig.

Maximiliane Borzaga
Maximiliane was a Munich beauty of Italian descent. She was the daughter
of a salt and pawnshop cashier from Rovereto, Italy who eventually
settled in Rochus Lane in Munich. She married a physician, and
 had a son and a daughter by him.

Amalie von Lerchenfeld
The illegitimate daughter of Therese, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
and a German count, Amalie married Baron Alexander von Kruedener. After his
death, she married as her second husband Nikolai Adlerberg.
Her dazzling beauty earned her many admirers, among them, Fyodor Tyutchev and
King Ludwig I.

Cornelia Vetterlein
She was the daughter of the Bavarian State Councillor, and married
Baron Franz Ludwig von Kunsberg. Most of the paintings in the Gallery of Beauties
did not have significant backgrounds, but Cornelia symbolizes constancy and a castle is shown in the background. To match the castle, she is portrayed as the traditional German Lady of the Castle.

Isabella, Grafin von Trauffkirchen-Engelberg
Isabella was another Munich beauty whose father held a position at the Bavarian
Court as Lieutenant General a la suite. She married a Polish count when she was 22.
Her portrait was one of the first ten to be displayed at the Gallery of Beauties.

Charlotte von Hagn
An actress of the Biedermeimer era, Charlotte was a celebrated talent everywhere
she went. Her beauty, gentle demeanor, wit and charm were her attraction, and
she became the mistress of Franz Liszt, who called her "the concubine of two kings".

Regina Daxenberger
She was the daughter of a copper-smith. King Ludwig thought her so beautiful
that he had her open a royal ball on the arm of  Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.

Nanette Kaula
Nanette Kaula was the daughter of a Jewish Court Agent Raphael Kaula. 
In 1838 she married a Hamburg banker whose firm 
was granted a real estate license in Munich. She died childless in 1876.
Of all the paintings in the gallery, Nanette's is the only one where 
she is dressed in a simple outfit, as "the beautiful Jewess". 
She wears a purple and black velvet dress, adorned only with 
the golden arrow in her hair and brooch.

Anna Hillmayer
Anna Hillmayer was the daughter of a Munich meat dealer. She died unmarried 
on her 35th birthday. She is shown here wearing the traditional Munich 
headdress with a prayer book in front of the Munich Frauenkirche 
as a symbol of piety.

Helene Sedelmayer
She was the daughter of a shoemaker from Munich, and became known
to King Ludwig when she supplied toys to his children. He had her portrait painted when
she was 18. Ludwig is said to have wooed her with the words, “Don’t have such a searching and inquiring glance. You cheeky, loveliest beauty, look at me and trust me.” Helene later married the king's valet, and together they had 10 children.

Lady Jane Elizabeth Digby
Lady Digby was an English aristocrat who led a rather scandalous life. She married four times, and was the mistress of many aristocratic men and several kings, including Ludwig I. Of all the women at the Schönheitengalerie, Lady Digby had been the one who, with the exception of Marianna, Marqueza von Florenzi,  had most captivated the King.

Amalie von Schintling
Amalie was the daughter Major Lorenz von Schintling
and Baroness Theresia von Hacke. Her father allowed her portrait to be painted for
the Gallery of Beauties despite her fiance's objections. She and her fiance never got to marry -
she died of tuberculosis before the wedding. Amalie was portrayed here wearing an
 Oriental-style cape.

Marianna, Marquesa von Florenzi
She was an Italian noblewoman and a well-known translator of philosophical
works. The daughter of the Count of Ravenna, Marianna received a good education,
becoming the female ideal  of an educated woman at that time. For 40 years, she was
the mistress of King Ludwig I, and he greatly valued her advice in government matters.

Irene, Marchioness von Pallavicini
Irene was a Hungarian-born lady-in-waiting in the Bavarian court. She married
Count Alois Nikolaus Arco, the Royal Bavarian Chamberlain, but the marriage
was unhappy, and resulted with the couple's separation but not divorce.

Caroline, Grafin von Holnstein
Caroline was a German noblewoman who at 16 married Carl Theodor, Graf von Holnstein
from Bavaria. The marriage was unhappy, but it gave her ample opportunities to
be at court. King Ludwig I saw her for the first time at a court academy, and was
dazzled by her beauty. It was said that she was the illegitimate daughter of
Prince Karl of Bavaria.

Lady, Theresa Spence
Nothing is known about Therese Renard Spence other than her birthday and that Spence is her married name. She was already married at the time of when this painting was commissioned. Portrayed as Sappho, the Greek lyric poet from the island of Lesbos, she wears the traditional Greek robes and a crown of laurel, and holds a lyre.

Lady Jane Erskine
Jane was born in London, one of the seven beautiful daughters of David Montagu,
Baron of Erskine and British envoy in Munich. Jane married James Henry Callander,
a Scottish politician.

Mathilde von Jordan
Mathilde was the daughter of Baron Wilhelm von Jordan, Royal Chamberlain and
Lieutenant-General of the Bavarian court, and Violana, Countess von Sandizell.
She was also a maid-of-honor at the Bavarian court. She married Baron von Beust, a successful
politician and Austrian Court Minister for Saxony. 

Wilhelmine Sulzer
Wilhelmine Sulzer was actually the stage name of Frederica Catharina Sulzer. 
An illegitimate child, she was orphaned at the age of 16. She was hired as a student of Heigel at the Royal Court Theater in 1836, where she attracted the attention of King Ludwig, who called her a "decent and virtuous girl". After a year in the theatre, she developed a chronic chest problem and retired from the stage and married the Ministerial Registar Karl Schneider.

Luise von Neubeck
Luise was born in 1816, the daughter of the King's chamberlain, Baron Karl von Neubeck and his wife Leopoldina. After her mother's death, Luise was brought in Rudesheim on the Rhine. She later became the abbess of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Munich, and died there in 1872.

Rosalie Julie, Baroness von Bonar
She was born in Vienna, the daughter of a Moravian knight and a Polish countess. She
married the British ambassador in Vienna.

Antonia Wallinger
Antonia was the daughter of Court Theater Manager Anton Josef Wallinger and
his wife Catherine. She was a dancer at the Royal Court Theater, before marrying
Frederick Ott, a councilor. She is portrayed here as Hebe, the Goddess of Youth, and was
described by King Ludwig I in his sonnet "Ode to the Hebe in My Collection of Beauties" as
"a sweet cupbearer at the feast of the gods".

Princess Sophie of Bavaria
Sophie was the eldest daughter of King Maximilan I of Bavaria and his second
wife, Princess Caroline of Baden. She was thus a half-sister to King Ludwig I.
She was also the mother of the future Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.

Katharina Botsaris
Katharina was Greek beauty from Janina. Her father was a Greek freedom fighter named
Markos Botzaris. He died in battle against the Ottoman Turks in 1820. Katharina's brother, Demetrius, was educated in Munich, and was an aide and war minister of King Otto I of Greece. Katharina became lady-in-waiting to Queen Amalie of Greece, and married Prince George Karadjas in 1845, a general in the Greek army. In 1841, Amalie, Otto, and their aides visited King Ludwig in Munich. While Amalie was climbing out of her carriage in Munich, Ludwig spotted Katharina assisting her. Both Otto and Amalie suggested Katharina for the Gallery of Beauties, and Ludwig agreed. She was portrayed here wearing the traditional Greek costume.

Caroline Lizius
Almost nothing is known about Caroline Lizius, who was described by Ludwig in 1842 as "the most beautiful woman in Munich" and left her 24000 gulden (over 3 million dollars) in his will if she never married, which was to be used as a dowry if she did marry. This portrait of Caroline was the second of two paintings of her by Joseph Stieler, completed in 1843 at the age of 18. The first was completed in 1841 when Caroline was 16, and Ludwig immediately commissioned a second portrait as Caroline "had become more beautiful".

Elise List
Elise was born in Stuttgart, the second daughter of an economist named Friedrich List and his wife Caroline nee Seybold. She married an Austrian factory owner. She was introduced to the king by his half-sister Queen Elisabeth of Prussia, who told Ludwig, "She sang for us with a very beautiful voice but her face pleased me even more than her singing and I think she would be worthy of being included in your collection of beauties".

Marie, Crown Princess of Bavaria nee Prussia
Marie was Ludwig's daughter-in-law. She was the daughter of Prince William of Prussia and Princess Marie Anna of Hesse. She was a popular figure in Bavaria, and this portrait of her was done shortly after her marriage.

Caroline, Princess von Oettingen-Wallerstein
Princess Caroline was the daughter of Prince Ludwig von Öttingen-Öttingen and Wallerstein and Princess Creszentia, whose portrait was also in the Gallery of Beauties. She married Count Hugo Philipp von Waldbott-Bassenheim, a Hereditary Chevalier of the Teutonic Knights, before the completion of this painting.

Friederike, Baroness von Gumppenberg
Friederike was born in Munich, the daughter of former chief mining and salt works council, Baron Franz von Gumppenberg and his wife Therese, née Countess von Tannenberg. Friederike was 17 when she came in the service as court lady of the Crown Princess Marie, who had just then married and moved to Bavaria. Friederike was the Princess's maid-of honor for 15 years. She then married her cousin Baron Ludwig von Gumppenberg. They then gave their service at court. Friederike was awarded the honorary title of Dame of the Royal Order and the Elizabeth Theresa Order.

Josepha Conti
Born as household servant's daughter, Josepha married, at 15, a 45-year-old painter Anton Conti. They lived on Briennerstrasse in Munich, near the Royal Residenz, thus becoming known to King Ludwig I, who included her in his Gallery of Beauties. After her husband left her, she worked as a maker of canvasses for the royal court. She later married a Court Councillor.

Princess Alexandra of Bavaria
Princess Alexandra was the youngest daughter of King Ludwig. A precocious child, she was a favorite child of the king, who left her in his will his entire natural history collection as a private possession. She never married, and instead was appointed abbess of the Royal Chapter for Ladies of Saint Anne in Munich, a religious community for noble ladies.

Princess Auguste Ferdinande of Bavaria
She was King Ludwig's daughter-in-law, having married the King's third son, Luitpold. She had a delicate health and was suffering from tuberculosis even before her marriage, which made the King oppose the match. However, Ludwig eventually accepted her and was soon writing with great enthusiasm about her beautiful profile, and insisted that she be painted for the Gallery of Beauties in profile unlike the rest of the girls in the Gallery of Beautie.

Lola Montez
Her real name was Maria Dolores Elisa Gilbert, the daughter of an Irish
Lieutenant. She became a professional dancer and actress when she was 21, and
later met and became King Ludwig's mistress. She was unpopular among the local
population because of her 'bad' influence to the king and her arrogant manners.

Maria Dietsch
Marie was born in Munich, the daughter of Joseph Dietsch, a tailor from Schwandorf. She worked as a seamstress, and married George Sprecher, the editor of the Augsburg Evening Newspaper. 

Anna von Greiner
Anna was the daughter of a carpenter, Christian Jacob Bartel and
Wilhelmine Herrlich. She was an actress at the National Theatre in Munich, and
married an landowner named Emil Greiner.

Carlotta von Breidbach-Bürresheim
Carlotta was born in Biebrich on the Rhine, the daughter of Jacob Philipp, Freiherr von Breidbach-Bürresheim and his wife Caroline, nee Baroness von Greifenklau. As lady-in-waiting of the Grand Duchess Mathilde of Hesse-Darmstadt, she visited the court of Maximilian II in Munich. On this occasion she met Ludwig I, who so admired Carlotta that he dedicated no less than 250 poems for her. After the death of his wife, Ludwig even proposed to Carlotta, but she refused. She later married Count Philipp von Waldeck, and they lived in Bohemia.


Unknown said...

Thank you for shedding some light on each of these lovely ladies. Wikipedia had left me wanting more info and you kindly provided it. Very interesting!

Gem said...

Your welcome Trianna! I'm glad that the info I posted here where of much help to you. Such lovely ladies, aren't they? Their beauty really deserved to be immortalized in this wonderful gallery.

Anonymous said...

He didn't put Louise of Prussia in there?
But she was really beautiful! D:
Oh, It's kinda weird how a kid like me loves these kinds of things.
Keep up the good work, Gem~!


Gem said...

@Vette: Thank you for your comment! Queen Louise of Prussia was indeed a beauty, but she had died long before King Ludwig became King and commissioned the Gallery of Beauties. But it would be quite interesting if he had her portrait placed in there.

Kahanu said...

I finally found these women after all these years: Nanette Kaula, Amalie Von Schintling, Caroline Lizius, Helene Sedlmayer, Marie of Prussia, Countess Caroline Von Holnstein, Princess Caroline von Ottingen-Wallerstein, and Anna Hillmayer! They are features on my favorite ride on the carnival: Wave Swinger!! Look up 50th state fair Wave Swinger of Punahou Canival Wave Swinger and youll see what I mean...successs!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad I was able to find this. Most sites nowadays call these beauties "scandalous beauties" or something like that, with the implication that Ludwig had sex with each of them, as if this was his royal harem.
Although a few are known to have been his mistresses, it is obvious that having sex with Ludwig was not a requirement: two of his daughters, two of his daughters-in-law, and his half-sister are in this gallery! This was beyond the days of kings being held unaccountable for scandalous conduct. Certainly having his closest relatives as mistresses would have created a scandal. Not to mention that at least two were ill, one with TB, and as Ludwig did not become ill himself, it is unlikely that he was intimate with them.
Of course no serious historian would state such titillating nonsense as to say that all of these were mistresses of Ludwig, but slanderous implications abound on the web.
He admired their beauty. That he found them lovely was the only requirement.

Anonymous said...

It is quite probable that Ludwig must have seen these women while he was travelling. I mean, how does a king have dealings with pawnshop cashiers and "meat dealers"? Did he send some royal trusted court official to spy these peasant girls out? Did he arrange secret trysts with them? As for the paintings, were those private and never meant for public consumption. Are they trophies of sexual conquests? It seems that after about painting number ten the word was out! Now, everyone wanted a spot on the king's royal wall. After all these were just beauty appreciations, right? (The cover-up begins)

Anonymous said...

Credit the artists who painted these, please. Typical non-artist who "loves: the art but doesn't give a sht about who labored to create it.
Oh so pretty! Who cares who actually painted it. Philistine.

Unknown said...

I really like these women portraits. Thanks. I happen to have a gold brooch of Helene Sedelmayer in my jewellery collection.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (October 17, 2014)-the artist is credited in the introduction to the post.

Unknown said...

Girls fashion and their age are always inversely proportional. You have fantastic stuff on this blog that keep the girls young and beautiful with you fashion tips. Being a fashion artist I really appreciate your efforts and work.
Love from Royal Lady

Gina said...

Beautiful beautiful post!

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