Heidecksburg Palace in Rudolstadt is one of the most magnificent Baroque palaces in the state of Thuringia. Set on a crag overlooking the former royal seat, the palace can be seen from far and wide as a crowning town landmark.
Of the old 13th-century fortified castle all that remains are the vaults and remains of walls in the cellar. A fire that destroyed parts of the three-wing Renaissance palace complex in 1735 presented a perfect opportunity to rebuild in a grand style befitting the princely status that the Schwarzburgs now enjoyed.
The reigning Prince Friedrich Anton von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1692–1744) summoned Saxony’s chief master builder Johann Christoph Knöffel (1686–1752) to Rudolstadt to entrust him with the task. His plans, along with the results of their execution after 1737, bear witness to the cool Late Baroque style also found in Dresden and typical of Saxony in this period.
Financing problems, as well as Knöffel’s duties in Dresden, which rendered him unable to devote the necessary care to the building work in Rudolstadt, ultimately led to the Weimar-based architect Gottfried Heinrich Krohne (1703–1756) being called in to carry on work on the complex. As already envisioned in Knöffel’s plans, Krohne grouped the rooms on either side of the Banquet Hall into self-contained apartments. However, he recast the reserved classical interiors in the exuberant and lively Rococo style that was making inroads in southern Germany, seen at its most sensuous in the two-storey Banquet Hall.
The supraporta paintings in the staterooms are the work of Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich (1712–1774) and Johann Ernst Heinsius (1731–1794). The Palace Museum with its extensive art collection is housed in the former private royal apartments in the south wing. Paintings and furnishings from the Late Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Empire, Neoclassical and Biedermeier periods, as well as pieces in the Eclectic style, can be found in the corresponding historic rooms.