Exuberant Apotheoses: Italian Frescoes in the Holy Roman Empire

Visual Culture and Princely Power in the Age of Enlightenment


From the late seventeenth through the mid-eighteenth centuries, large-scale Italian frescoes soared in popularity as nobles in the German principalities of the Holy Roman Empire constructed new palaces at an unprecedented rate. They competed with one another to produce lavish decorative schemes that expressed their claim to princely power and political authority. Whereas previous art historians have primarily focused on iconographic and stylistic issues and generally treated these programs as individual commissions of regional courts, this book places the works of art within their broad cultural and historical contexts during the Enlightenment. This monograph explains how rulers gradually shifted from emphasizing military heroism to stressing their cultivation of the arts and sciences, and addresses how expressing membership in a specifically European civilization emerged as an integral visual theme and a key ambition of the German nobility.


EUR €185.00USD $246.00

Biographical Note

Daniel Fulco, Ph.D. (2014), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is an independent scholar of 17th- and 18th-century European art. His research also engages with 19th-century painting and the exhibition of Islamic art in fin-de-siècle Europe.

Review Quotes

"...Fulco has given us a very important book, isolating a small group of Venetian painters from their usual monographic contexts and discussing them instead in the larger context of grand German commissions; the four extensive enterprises he studies furnish a brilliant picture of court society in the eighteenth century."

William L. Barcham, “A New Study on ‘Venezia altrove,’ Venetian Painters Working in German Lands in the Eighteenth Century,” Arte Veneta 73 (2016): 197-203.

Table of contents


List of Illustrations



1 The Aftermath of Military Conflict: A Rise in Princely Visual Culture (1648–1710)

2 War and International Politics: The Staircase Frescoes of Schloss Bensberg (1710–1714)

3 Dynasticism and Cultural Philanthropy: The Pictorial Program of Schloss Bensberg’s State Rooms (1710–1714)

4 The Blue Elector’s Aeneas: Jacopo Amigoni’s Images of War and Triumph at Schloss Schleissheim (1724–1726)

5 Ducal Power and Munificence: Carlo Innocenzo Carlone’s Frescoes in Schloss Ludwigsburg (1731–1733)

6 Prince-Episcopal Patronage and World Civilization: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Apollo and the Four Continents in the Würzburg Residenz (1751–1753)

Excursus: Italo-Germanic Artistic Exchange and Collaboration





For those interested in secular Italian fresco painting north of the Alps during the Enlightenment. Anyone studying baroque and rococo visual culture, patronage, and German and Austrian political history.