Detail from the ceiling painting in the White Hall depicting the Welfare of Württemberg

Dedicated to the welfare of the countryThe ceiling painting

Educated contemporaries of Duke Carl Eugen immediately understood the narrative presented by the ceiling painting in the White Hall of Solitude Palace. Today's visitors may need a little help. The objects that the figures hold in their hands are hidden clues to understanding the scenes.

Portrait of Duke Carl Eugen, 1770

Duke Carl Eugen as the ruler of Württemberg.

About the contents of the image: Ideal and reality

The central ceiling painting in the White Hall was painted by Nicolas Guibal in 1768. Duke Carl Eugen, who commissioned it, had specific ideas about the contents of the image: He wanted to see himself depicted as a successful ruler whose deeds protected the land from evil and promoted peace and prosperity. The reality, however, was somewhat different, because Carl Eugen not only waged wars, but also had an extravagant lifestyle that was primarily self-interested.

A heavenly realm

Through the ceiling painting, the White Hall seems to open itself to the sky. In the center of the image, the two virtues of Gentleness and Wisdom flank the ducal coronet. War, identifiable by his armor, is tamed by Peace. The gods Bacchus and Ceres have vine leaves and fruits in their hands. They stand for viticulture and farming. The god Apollo, surrounded by Sculpture, Architecture, and Music, symbolizes culture. The viewer's conclusion: Farming and culture are only possible in times of peace.

The ceiling painting in the White Hall depicts the welfare of Württemberg under Duke Carl Eugen

The ceiling painting in the White Hall depicts the welfare of Württemberg under Duke Carl Eugen.

Detail of the cavetto in the White Hall of Solitude Palace

Decorations along the ceiling.

A magnificent transition between the wall and ceiling

Between the ceiling painting and the stucco trim are two differently designed wall areas: a zone with oval windows, and above it, a channel. Trophies of war can be seen on the window frames. Garlands of flowers and small figures made of stucco, also designed by Nicolas Guibal, connect the windows. In the channels, architectural elements alternate with stucco elements and paintings of the sky.

Monogram of Duke Carl Eugen above the south door to the White Hall

The monogram of the duke in the White Hall.

Coat of arms and monogram

The ducal coat of arms of Württemberg and the ducal coronet are placed above the north entrance door. As a counterpart, Duke Carl Eugen's monogram is located above the south entrance door, through which the rulers typically entered the palace.

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