The Jesuit church was built between 1733 in 1756 as the Court Church of the Mannheim electors Charles Philip III and Charles Theodore to a design of the Italian architect Alessandro Galli da Bibiena. It was completed in 1760 and consecrated to St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier by the Prince Bishop of Augsburg, Joseph of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Features of the exterior are the twin towered facade of red sandstone, the statues of the four cardinal virtues, the Pheme, by Baroque sculptor Paul Egell, which adorns the 75 m-high dome.
The marble pilastered interior is in a late Baroque-early classical style. Egid Quirin Asam from Munich was instructed to decorate the church. He decorated the dome with scenes from the life of the order's founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, while the nave had an over 400 square metre fresco whose content referred to the subject of the high altar, namely the Mission of St. Francis Xavier to India.
On the occasion of city's 300th anniversary in 1906 the church was extensively renovated. The two statues of the founders of the Jesuit order in the lobby are by the sculptor Thomas Buscher. During the Second World War, the church suffered severe damage from British and American air attacks, especially the choir and the dome. After the war it was decided to rebuild the church in its historical style with the use of original parts in the reconstruction of the approximately 20 metres high marble altar of Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, and the electoral pews.
Even today, this church is still very rich in Baroque art. It has, the six side altars and font by Verschaffelt. In the crossing beneath the dome there are four frescoes representing the continents by the Mannheim Baroque painter Philip Jerome Brinckmann. The confessionals were reconstructed like the electoral pews. The most important sculpture is the 1747 'Crowned Silver Madonna' of Augsburg silversmith, Joseph Ignaz Saler. The destroyed frescoes by Egid Quirin Asam were not restored. Today's pulpit was only placed here after the war. It was created in 1753 and originally came from the Carmelite convent in Heidelberg. In the lobby there are very richly ornamented wrought iron gates made by the Mannheim master locksmith Philip Reinhard Sieber in 1755 and two monuments of the church from 1906.
The main organ case in the west gallery is built according to a design of the elector’s court sculptor Paul Egell. It survived the bombing and the small damage it suffered was repaired in 1952. In 1965 an instrument from the workshop of Johannes Klais of Bonn was installed. In 2004 this was optimized acoustically. The four manual organ has 62 registers. In the left side gallery is the choir organ. The case is by an anonymous artist. It was constructed for the Catholic Church in Fuerth in Odenwald in 1751/52. In 1961 it was transferred to Mannheim and contains 16 registers from the case of the post-war Egell organ. The instrument is now technically unreliable and will be replaced by a new one.
To take into account the current requirements of the liturgy the high altar was reconstructed and the choir redesigned. Klaus Ringwald created an altar of silver and bronze, with a new design of the sanctuary and four very large candlesticks. In the new marble floor of the nave a memorial plate with the names of the Jesuits buried in the crypt together with the name of the longtime rector and the Mannheim honorary citizen Fr. Joseph Bauer.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.