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Knobelsdorff, Georg Wenzeslaus, Freiherr von

Knobelsdorff, Georg Wenzeslaus, Freiherr von (1699–1753). Prussian aristocrat, architect, and soldier. He was a friend of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia (1712–86—later King Frederick II (the Great)), and built for him the circular Tuscan temple of Apollo in the gardens of Amalthée at Neu-Ruppin, Brandenburg (1735). After a journey in Italy (1736–7), Knobelsdorff enlarged Schloss Rheinsberg, near Neu-Ruppin, introducing a pronounced French note with coupled columns on the water front derived from Perrault's east front of the Louvre. When Frederick became King in 1740, Knobelsdorff was appointed Oberintendant (Director) of Buildings and Gardens. He added a new wing to Schloss Monbijou, Berlin (1740–2), and another at Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin (1740–3), with a sumptuous Rococo interior, and designed the new Opera House on the Unter den Linden, Berlin (1740–3). The last was the first example of a Palladian Revival in Prussia, with a design closely derived from Colen Campbell's Wanstead House, Essex, illustrated in Vitruvius Britannicus (1715 and 1725).

When the King moved his Court to Potsdam, Knobelsdorff remodelled the Stadtschloss there (1744–51), with Rococo interiors (destroyed). The enchanting Schloss Sanssouci—also known as the Weinberg-Schloss because it stands above a series of glazed terraces forming conservatories for growing vines—Potsdam (1745–7), survives, one of the most charming masterpieces of Rococo ever erected. A single-storey building with an elliptical Neo-Classical Marmorsaal (Marble Hall) in the centre, it has paired terms instead of pilasters on the exterior. He also designed St Hedwig's Cathedral, Berlin, built by Boumann and Büring (1742–73), renovated the Schloss at Dessau, Anhalt (1747–51), and designed many other buildings in Potsdam.

Bibliography

E. Hempel (1965);
Kadatz (1983);
Streichhan (1932);
Jane Turner (1996);
van Vynckt (ed.) (1993);
Watkin & and Mellinghoff (1987)

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