Clausholm Castle is one of Denmark's finest Baroque buildings. The castle's origins appear to go back to the 12th century but it is first mentioned in the 14th century when its owner, Lage Ovesen, was one of the leaders of the Jute uprising against Valdemar Atterdag. At the time, Clausholm was a four-winged building surrounded by a moat. But when the first Danish primeminister, Grand Chancellor Conrad von Reventlow, acquired the property in the 1690s, it was in such a sorry state that he pulled it down and had today's two-storeyed, three-winged building constructed in its place. It was designed by Danish architect Ernst Brandenburger with the assistance of the Swede Nicodemus Tessin the Younger.
The castle was designed so that the Grand Chancellor could live on the ground floor while the first floor, with higher and more decorative ceilings, was intended for royal visitors. Both the castle and the park are among Denmark's earliest and finest from the Baroque period. It was thanks to Reventlow's daughter, Anna Sophie Reventlow, that the castle gained fame when she was abducted by an amorous king, Frederick IV. Anna Sophie became his queen in 1721 but when he died in 1730, she returned to Clausholm with her court.
In the castle's chapel, decorated by Anna Sophie, is one of Denmark's oldest organs built around 1700 by the Botzen brothers from Copenhagen.
As there was no running water or electricity at the castle, for many years it was only inhabited during the summer. But in 1964, the new owners, Henrik and Ruth Berner, modernised the facilities with the result that the castle came back to life. Restoration work continued for a considerable period, great care being taken to protect the historical building which had remained practically untouched since the 1730s. The efforts were rewarded in 1994 when Queen Margrethe presented the castle with theEuropa Nostra Prize for outstanding heritage work.
The large Baroque park with its fountains and avenues was designed in the 18th century. In 2009, with the support of the Realdania Foundation, the park was thoroughly renovated.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.