Monument to eternal love

The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill

Exterior view of the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill with staircase. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl
AN ARCHITECT FOR THE KING OF WÜRTTEMBERG

GIOVANNI BATTISTA

Salucci

The Italian, Giovanni Battista Salucci (1769–1845), was appointed court architect in Württemberg in 1817. He gained prominence through his classical structures in Stuttgart, such as Rosenstein Palace, the Wilhelm's Palace, and the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill.

Interior view of the cupola in The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Salucci followed his calling.

WHAT WAS SALUCCI'S LIFE LIKE?

Giovanni Salucci began studying architecture in Florence at the Accademia di Belle Arti in 1783, after cutting short his business education, in which he was unhappy. His received his first jobs while on an educational trip to Rome and Venetia. Between 1817 and 1839, Salucci worked as the royal Württemberg court architect. In 1840, he returned to his native Florence. He died there, five years later, destitute, and is interred at the cloister at the Convent of San Marco.

Design for the sepulchral chapel, drawing by Salucci, 1819. Scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg

One of Salucci's designs.

WHY WAS SALUCCI AWARDED THE CONTRACT FOR THE SEPULCHRAL CHAPEL?

Prestigious architects, such as Leo Klenze, Joseph Thürmer and Heinrich Hübsch, were invited to submit designs for the structure. King Wilhelm I originally wanted a chapel in the neo-Gothic style, something referred to at the time as "German-Gothic". Court architect Salucci submitted a classical design. Completely unsolicited! Why he was awarded the job while the competition was still underway remains a mystery. Some outside artists even submitted designs after construction had begun.

Design for the sepulchral chapel, drawing circa 1820. Scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg

Salucci designed an opulent interior.

DID SALUCCI HAVE FREE REIN IN HIS DESIGN?

Salucci was supervised in all of his royal architectural assignments because he had exceeded the budget in his very first job, the construction of the small Weil Palace near Esslingen. From then on, the court architect, much to his displeasure, had to have plans approved by the building and garden administration. Salucci was also subject to budgetary limitations in the construction of the sepulchral chapel. However, he still received much recognition for his work, for example the Rosenstein Palace, which he completed in 1829.

Aerial view of the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

A skylight of iron and glass.

WHICH BUILDING MATERIALS DID HE BRING TO WÜRTTEMBERG?

Salucci used iron in the construction of the small Weil Palace. He lit the interior staircase with a skylight made of iron and glass. He also used it in the sepulchral chapel, where it appears in a central skylight at the apex of the cupola. Salucci was the first in Württemberg to use iron in his buildings. He could even be considered the pioneer of iron architecture in Germany, given that Karl Friedrich Schinkel didn't build his pavilion containing iron parts in Charlottenburg until 1824.

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