Güstrow Palace is a Renaissance-era palatial schlossb built in 1558 for Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg. The palace features stucco decorations and a Baroque-classicist gatehouse.
Construction of the present palace was initiated in 1558 by Ulrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, in place of a medieval castle. Franciscus Pahr was the master builder who constructed the additional south and west wings in a fusion of Italian, French, and German architectural styles, unique for the time and area.
In 1657, Gustav Adolf, the last Duke of Güstrow, engaged Charles Philippe Dieussart to refurbish parts of his palace in modern style. The Baroque gatehouse and the palace bridge were built during this time. After the end of ducal control, between 1817 and 1950, the palace became the farm house of Mecklenburg workers. Further restoration took place from 1963 to 1978, when the palace was restored to its original grandeur.
Güstrow Palace is quadrangular in shape. Some of the old furniture has been removed to Schwerin and other places following the death of Magdalena Sybilla which marked the end of the Güstrow lineage. In one part of the palace, there are well preserved Flemish paintings; one particular painting is of a Dutchman smoking. A theatre is in good shape with well preserved original stucco paintings. The stucco ceilings are retained in their original form in the palace. The banquet hall's ceiling has unique stucco paintings of hunting scenes which are adaptations from Dutch copper engravings. The medieval rooms in the basement of the palace, which are vaulted, have many artifacts of the medieval period of Germany. The art chamber contains exhibits of hunting and ceremonial weapons. The refurbished former dining halls, residential and reception rooms have exhibits of paintings of Cranach, Marten de Vos, and Tintoretto. Antique ceramic vessels and a large number of glass items are on display in the former chamber of the duchess. There are also displays from the 19th to 21st centuries.
The grounds contain stables and a well-tended garden. The garden has been redone with beds of lavender and walkways.
The palace houses a museum related to the male line of Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg's family, presenting also art exhibitions and concerts.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.