Ignaz Günther

Two Putti in Flight
c. 1765
Lindenwood, remains of original paint, length c. 75.5 and 81.5 cm

The Ludwig Celebration

Munich 1968

A Major Anniversary

Ludwig Karl August von Wittelsbach was born in 1786 in Strasbourg. Crowned King of Bavaria in 1825, Ludwig I was utterly committed to the Neoclassicist zeitgeist and an ardent admirer of Ancient Greece. This is reflected in his architectural remodelling of the Bavarian capital that characterises Munich to this day. The Ludwigstrasse with the university, the Ludwigskirche, the Feldherrenhalle (Field Marshals’ Hall), the Siegestor (Victory Arch), the Königsplatz with its historicising buildings, the Alte Pinakothek and many others were constructed during Ludwig’s reign. His importance as a patron of the arts and promotor of industry is immense. The centenary celebration was planned for 1886 but, due to the unfortunate death of Ludwig II, was moved to 1888. With this celebration Munich wanted to express its gratitude for all things ‘beautiful and great’ that King Ludwig had ‘lavishly’ given the city, as one contemporary writer remarked.

The Radspieler Company

Royal Dreams

The Orient in Bavaria

The Radspieler Company, that decorated the gilders’ carriage with historical angels, was among the leading craftsman’s companies in the royal city. It made the throne for King Ludwig II and was also involved in work on the winter garden in the oriental style above the Court Garden wing of the Residenz. Planned step by step from 1867 onwards and enlarged several times, an 80-metre-long structure was finally built for which the Royal Inspector of the Court Garden, Carl Effner, was responsible. A large ‘lake’ with rowing boats, accessible decorative stage sets with palms and tropical plants created an exotic atmosphere in which Ludwig II could dream of foreign lands. The winter garden was abandoned after Ludwig’s death and the remains of the complex on the roof of the Residenz destroyed during World War II.


Happy Children

In a Heavenly Realm

The two putti that Ignaz Günther created, in all probability for the Knöbl family chapel, are realistically depicted little girls: only their wings point to their celestial connection. The well-nourished children with their round, chubby-cheeked faces embody a typical schema of child-like characteristics that remind observers of their own childhood or their own children, elicit a smile and exude a carefree, happy atmosphere. Child-like figures such as these two putti symbolise a sense of ease that contrasts with the solemnity in the church’s message of salvation. Putti were incidentally not an invention of the Catholic Church but have been familiar since Antiquity when figures of young boys represented the god of love – Amor or Cupid.