23 August 2006

Bayreuth 12

I went to the Neue Schloss today, a sizeable and appealing rococo building, a distant cousin of the Versailles family, near Wahnfried. I had the schloss to myself most of the morning, which is always nice. There's not a lot inside, which is OK since there's only so many 18th century portraits and velvet-seated chairs I want to look at. The walls and the ceilings are the big show, and as I wandered through several times I would see new details, like a stucco cupid melting away like a cloud on the ceiling or a chandelier covered with enamel pink roses and carnations. There's a room decorated with Ovidian tapestries in beautiful deep colors, and a dining room lined with golden-leaved palm trees. One ceiling is covered with golden swirls interspersed with clusters of green seaweed, dark red coral, and sea shells in black, rust, and ash gray. Many of the rooms feature chinoiserie or japonoiserie (not sure I'm spelling that right or even have the right word). One celadon Japanese room featured gold and dark bronze birds and flowers, including what looked to me like a very southwestern cactus, though it was not accompanied by a rococo Kokopelli. One wonderful room had mirrors of various sizes and shapes embedded on the ceiling among a fantastical melange of lions, palm trees, dragons, and whatnot and a Chinese man offering a scroll with gilded phoenixes to a Chinese woman. He was slightly less dressed than she was. The room is small and the walls are filled with pictures. Two are of respectable countesses, one with a very low cut dress. The others are of Lucretia stabbing herself in her naked breasts, Cleopatra applying the asp to her naked breast, and that woman in Genesis who saved her father (father-in-law? Lot? Noah? -- I'd look it up but though my room does have a Gideon Bible it only contains the New Testament, something in which I'm trying not to find any significance) by baring her breasts so he could drink her milk and live. It was the Salon of Hot Babes Who Bare Their Breasts in the Presence of Death, a concept which I'm sure can be expressed in German in a single weighty word of a line or two's length that sounds both musical and profound.
The lobby music just now was Taking a Chance on Love, with the Walkure theme underneath from another room. There must be a steady series of lectures around town. There is not a whole lot else to do, but I'd still rather wander around and read up before traveling.

No comments: