Weikersheim Palace, wall painting in the Knights' Hall

Unusual masterpieces of the RenaissanceThe elephant

No one who has ever seen the elephant of Weikersheim will forget it. It stretches its trunk impressively and threateningly into the Knights' Hall. Together with other large animal figures, all created circa 1600, it adorns the upper section of the wall.

Weikersheim Palace, animals loom in 3-D

Animals loom in 3-D from the walls.

Elephants in Hohenlohe

Hunted wildlife decorating a prestigious hall demonstrates that hunting is the absolute prerogative of the nobility. Only rulers were permitted to hunt! Elephants were certainly not among the wild animals that the Counts of Hohenlohe encountered in their forests. It is more likely that Count Wolfgang wanted the exotic animal as adornment: look here, I rule over more creatures than you know! Perhaps the elephant is also a symbol, since the Knights' Hall is full of messages which are difficult to interpret today.

Hunting scene, wood boarding in the Knights' Hall
Hunting scene, wood boarding in the Knights' Hall
Hunting scene, wood boarding in the Knights' Hall

Whether on water or on land, hunting was the favourite pastime of many Renaissance and Baroque rulers.

Artistic relations

Sculptor Gerhard Schmidt was familiar with animal figures from his home in Lower Saxony. Artists travelled – even four hundred centuries ago. It was often their customers who recommended them to their other relations. A smaller hall Hohenlohe arranged by Schmidt and his colleague Christoph Limmerich still exists today in Hermersberg Palace. However, the adornments there are much simpler.

Other highlights in Weikersheim Palace and Garden