Friday, October 14, 2011

Look Up


While in France we visited the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, a 15th century fortress, and a beautiful blend of French and German styling.

It is set high atop a hill in the Vosges mountains, and it has a commanding view of the surrounding Alsatian countryside and even the Black Forest region of Germany.  Throughout history the castle has served as both a French and German stronghold, but in 1899 it was given to Kaiser Wilhelm II von Hohenzollern, who set out to restore the castle to his ideal of what a German castle from the middle ages might have looked like.




As we wandered around the castle, trying to imagine what life must have been like way back then, I couldn't help but look up and take in the beautiful artwork and intricate woodwork that filled nearly every ceiling.




The walls were also adorned with interesting objects like the antlers pictured above as well as artwork.




In this room a carved dragon held court, hanging beneath a beautiful wood and plaster ceiling.




It was very dark in the castle, and not a good place to use a tripod, so some of the images are a little grainy but they still convey the beautiful and masterful artwork found on the ceilings and walls of the castle.




The colors still remain vibrant and look as if they were applied just months ago, and not hundreds of years ago.




My favorite room was the main dining hall which had an intricately painted ceiling.  It must have been magnificent to dine under that gilded ceiling when the chandeliers would have illuminated it with candlelight.




In the fall issue of Romantic Country I wrote an article about a guest house in Napa where the homeowner had commissioned an artist to paint the walls and ceilings of her French inspired kitchen.  It truly made a statement and was beautiful to look at.  

After visiting Haut-Koenigsbourg castle I began to wonder when it was that painting ceilings fell out of fashion?  Rarely do we see hand painted ceilings in decor anymore, yet they truly can add a whole new dimension to a room's style and decor.  Maybe it has become too expensive to create works of art on a ceiling, or maybe we have just forgotten to look up.  Somehow I hope the trend will find it's way back in, so that hundreds of years from now people can tour a home and marvel at the craftsmanship and artistry of the time, and not just gaze up to find a blank canvas.

17 comments:

  1. Great looking patterns of paint on the walls around the antlers. I wonder if it was cold living in a castle? Sure looks romantic, doesn't it?

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  2. Those ceilings are gorgeous! But for us, that dragon would be the piece de resistance - my 6 yr old would never want to leave. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Oh, and you didn't bring me back any of those antlers. I would have been your bff! That dragon is a little creepy. What a wonderful castle.

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  4. Kat, those photos are amazing! That dragon is creepy I must say! I love castles!

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  5. Oh so magnificent Kat! The detail! You do wonder what life was like back then. It would be have been short and hard for the common folk. I was very mindful of 'looking up' when in Paris!... and I find myself saying 'look up' to myself a lot these days... especially at trade fairs... where often the best stuff is up high!... like lights! A-M xx

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  6. That castle is quite impressive! I would imagine that in order to have an elaborate painted ceiling today it could get very expensive. Maybe that was common for the wealthy or during a good economic time. It's so interesting to see old art like that though.

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  7. Such a fantastic place - I have been there more than once as it was close to home and a favorite excursion when we had company. It's hard to remember that it isn't truly a castle from the time, but as you said, a reconstruction from a very wealthy monarch's dreams.

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  8. Kat, What a pretty and unique place. Your photos are beautiful as always.
    Hugs,
    Sherry

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  9. Your photography is just spectacular! Love your new Halloween header!

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  10. Looks like such an amazing place. So glad you got to go!
    xo E + J

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  11. Oh my goodness, what amazing architecture. Isn't Europe so beautiful?! I'll bet you had a wonderful trip :)

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  12. How beautiful...this must have been a gorgeous place to visit!

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  13. WOW! The details are just breathtaking! So much history there and so much to see and take in. I bet you could spend days in there just looking and learning. Thank you for sharing.
    xoxo

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  14. How you can capture those gorgeous shots in the interior of that castle just amaze me. You've got some serious photography skills Kat. That was such a great tour and interesting history of it. xo ~Lili

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  15. Wow - love looking at homes in other countries!

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  16. Oh Kat-- can only use one word--- magnificent. I love the antler wall photos-- just beautiful!!
    Vicki

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  17. I love the art on the ceiling. Beautiful middle aged aura art.

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