No other palace is so closely linked with the personality of Frederick the Great as Sanssouci. The name Sanssouci – without a care – should be understood as both the primary wish and leitmotif of the king, because this was the place where he most preferred to retreat in the company of his dogs. The king’s summer residence was ultimately his favorite place and sanctuary in difficult times.
Sanssouci Palace, Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg
Sanssouci is a historical building in Potsdam, near Berlin. Built by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, as his summer palace, it is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick’s need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.
The principal entrance area, consisting of two halls, the “Entrance Hall” and the “Marble Hall”, is at the centre, thus providing common rooms for the assembly of guests and the court, while the principal rooms flanking the Marble Hall become progressively more intimate and private, in the tradition of the Baroque concept of state rooms. Thus, the Marble Hall was the principal reception room beneath the central dome. Five guest rooms adjoined the Marble Hall to the west, while the King’s apartments lay to the east – an audience room, music room, study, bedroom, library, and a long gallery on the north side.
The circular library deviated from the spatial structure of French palace architecture. The room is almost hidden, accessed through a narrow passageway from the bedroom, underlining its private character. Cedarwood was used to panel the walls and for the alcoved bookcases. The harmonious shades of brown augmented with rich gold-coloured Rocaille ornaments were intended to create a peaceful mood. The bookcases contained approximately 2,100 volumes of Greek and Roman writings and historiographies and also a collection of French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries with a heavy emphasis on the works of Voltaire. The books were bound in brown or red goat leather and richly gilded.