Featured in the Your Magic Place group, January, 2011.

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King Ludwig II’s, Neuschwanstein Castle at Schwangau, Germany – Disney used this as inspiration for it’s Disneyland Castle.

Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm;1 sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 18452 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King, (German). Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia3

Ludwig is sometimes also called “Mad King Ludwig”, though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental illness without any medical examination and died a day later under mysterious circumstances, questions about the medical “diagnosis” remain controversial.4 One of his most quoted sayings was “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others.”5

Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles and palaces, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Since his legacy of grandiose castles lives on in the form of massive tourist revenue, King Ludwig is generally well liked and even revered by many in Bavaria today.

  • Neuschwanstein Castle,38 or “New Swan Stone Castle”, a dramatic Romanesque fortress with Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic interiors, which was built high above his father’s castle: Hohenschwangau. Numerous wall paintings depict scenes from the legends Wagner used in his operas. Christian glory and chaste love figure predominantly in the iconography, and may have been intended to help Ludwig live up to his religious ideals, but the bedroom decoration depicts the illicit love of Tristan & Isolde (after Gottfried von Strasbourg’s poem). The castle was not finished at Ludwig’s death; the Kemenate was completed in 1892 but the watch-tower and chapel were only at the foundation stage in 1886 and were never built.39 The residence quarters of the King – which he first occupied in May 188440 – can be visited along with the servant’s rooms, kitchens as well as the monumental throne room. Unfortunately the throne was never completed although sketches show how it might have looked on completion.41
Neuschwanstein Castle is a landmark well-known by many non-Germans, and was used by Walt Disney in the twentieth century as the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castles at Disneylands around the world. The castle has had over 50 million visitors since it was opened to the public on 1 August 1886, including 1.3 million in 2008 alone.42

Photograph taken with Panasonic Lumix FZ-28
HDR created from 3 images (-1,0,+1), handheld, tone mapped in photomatix and final processing in PS.

Others in this series:

Originally hailing from Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, Luke’s work uniquely reflects his life-long love of the outdoors and his keen interest in portraiture. Having recently returned from 4.5 years living and travelling abroad, his portfolio presents an intriguing variety of images that will delight any viewer.

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  • Audrey Clarke
    Audrey Clarkeabout 4 years ago

  • Thank you Audrey.

    – Luke Griffin

  • TonyCrehan
    TonyCrehanabout 4 years ago

    Long time since I visited Neuschwanstein Luke but I have seen many photos since. This is a really different treatment which gives it an ominous brooding atmosphere, probably more in keeping with Ludwig’s eccentricity. A nice change from the colourful postcards and sugar sweet fairytale Disney images. Well done.

  • Thanks for your kind words Tony. It is an amazing place to be and I will be going back in the spring/summer and hopefully in the next autumn as well to capture all it’s seasonal moods. Thanks again mate.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Adrian Evans
    Adrian Evansabout 4 years ago

    nice job, like the effect

  • Cheers Adrian.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Kathy Baccari
    Kathy Baccariabout 4 years ago

  • Thank you Kathy.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Bob Culshaw
    Bob Culshawabout 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your artwork with the Photomatix HDR Group!

  • Thank you Bob.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Lenka
    Lenkaabout 4 years ago

    Neuschweinstein may be a cliche to photograph, but you definitely show a unique view of it :)

  • I can say for sure, it’s one cliche worth visiting. A stunning place. Thank you kindly for your compliment. I’m glad you like it.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Vicki Spindler (VHS Photography)
    Vicki Spindler...almost 4 years ago

    WOW!!! Stunning shot! :)))))))))))))))))))

  • Thank you kindly Vicki.

    – Luke Griffin

  • Caterpillar
    Caterpillaralmost 4 years ago

  • Awesome! Thank you Cat. ;-)

    – Luke Griffin

  • vaggypar
    vaggyparalmost 4 years ago

    Great Work .!!!

  • Thanks mate.

    – Luke Griffin

  • julie08
    julie08almost 4 years ago

    Fantastic work :)

  • Thank you kindly Julie.

    – Luke Griffin

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