The First Official Residence in Frederick the Great’s Reign
Following his accession to the throne, Frederick the Great immediately commissioned the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to construct his first independent residence. Referred to as the New Wing, the structure abuts the Old Palace of his grandparents, Sophie Charlotte and Frederick I, to the east. The prestigious entrance at the center of the elongated, two-story building is accentuated by a series of twin columns, a balcony, and a crowning row of ornamental vases. As in the Old Palace, the floor plan corresponds to the Baroque principle of a linearly arranged suite of rooms, or enfilade. The interior design is the culmination of great expense and considerable artistic effort.
Frederician Ceremonial Halls and Masterpieces of French Painting
Following severe damage during World War II, the magnificent Frederician ceremonial halls – the White Hall, once a dining room; the Golden Gallery, adorned with green stucco marble and intricately-detailed Rococo decoration; and the king’s First and Second Apartments have been largely restored and furnished true to the original. Masterpieces of French painting, including Antoine Watteau’s Pilgrimage to Cythera and the Shop Sign of Gersaint, are among the main attractions and a particular delight for international visitors.
Royal Apartments in the Neoclassical Style
Frederick William II, the nephew and successor of Frederick the Great, had a summer apartment in Chinese and Etruscan styles constructed on the ground floor in 1788 and had the Early Neoclassical Winter Chambers built in 1796–97. This suite, however, was first occupied by his daughter-in-law, now Queen Luise, for whom Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed the elegant bedchamber with pearwood furniture in 1810. Along with Sanssouci and the royal palace on Unter den Linden, Charlottenburg Palace was one of her favorite places. Luise’s husband Frederick William III moved into the western ground floor’s rooms, which had once been part of the apartment of Frederick II’s wife, Queen Elisabeth Christine.
Important paintings and furniture formerly belonging to the monarch are now displayed here. Jacques-Louis David’s memorial-like, heroically staged equestrian portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte and Franz Krüger’s Parade, Unter den Linden, showing the 1st Foot Guard Regiment marching past a Biedermeier public, mark the beginning and end of the 43-year reign of Frederick William III.
19th Century Sculpture
An ideal complement to this exhibit is the new display of Neoclassical and German Romantic marble sculptures in the vestibule before the former royal apartment. The works by famous artists of the Berlin School of Sculpture are based on ancient originals, with some having been created in Rome. In quiet grandeur they await visitors in the reopened New Wing.