Active Project

Goethe Gallery in the Residenzschloss

Weimar, Germany


The Residenzschloss, or Residential Palace, of the Dukes of Saxe-Weimar was first constructed in the Middle Ages and was expanded and renovated until 1774, when a fire destroyed it. Following the fire, Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, rebuilt it but preserved the earlier baroque façade.

The city of Weimar is historically linked with a number of famous German writers, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who is buried in the city. In 1834, two years after Goethe’s death, Maria Pawlowna, the Grand Princess of Russia and Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, created plans for Dichterzimmer, or “Poet Rooms,” in the west wing of the palace, to commemorate the influential Weimar poets Goethe, Herder, Schiller, and Wieland. It was an intellectual center open to citizens of the city. As such, it was an important educational center for the community. The Goethe Gallery is the most prominent of these rooms, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and decorated by Bernhard Neher and his pupil, Carl Hutter, with scenes from Goethe’s works.

How We Helped

In 2008, materials analysis and urgent conservation work were carried out on the stucco and painted surfaces of the walls and ceiling, and the floor was repaired. With support from the Rudolf-August Oetker Stiftung, WMF has completed preliminary analysis and research on the site, and since spring 2011 has been engaged in a major conservation campaign. Workers repaired stucco, stone, plaster, panels, and doors in the Goethe Gallery and neighboring Wieland Room. The rooms were opened in a celebration on May 15, 2014.

Why It Matters

Among the poet rooms commissioned by Maria Pawlowna, the Goethe Gallery is the most prominent. The gallery played a pivotal role in the cultural life of nineteenth-century Weimar. Its conservation will allow it to be appreciated once again by residents and visitors.

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