The fantastical kingdom of Ludwig II (the 19th century Quixote)
The so-called “fairy tale king” wanted to build and inhabit impossible worlds.
They call him “the fairy tale king” (Mërchenköning) because Ludwig II of Bavaria preferred other worlds to the one he governed. He preferred the oriental dreams of The Thousand and One Nights and the enchanted mythologies of the operas of Wagner. These in particular fascinated him. For many years he was a patron of Wagner and his operas inspired the world that he created for himself.
In Linderhof palace and Neuschwanstein castle (on which it is said that Disney based its famous castle) he recreated many of the sets for the tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen and other operas by Wagner. He built, for example, the hut of a hermit who appears in Parsifal, a cabin with anThis element opens an imageBavaria interna enormous tree in the middle from Die Walküre, and one with caves and stalactites through which he sailed on an artificial river (with a wave machine) on a golden boat while listening to Wagner’s music.
The king was no longer viewed as an eccentric romantic and people began to consider him to be crazy. In 1886 he was declared unfit to govern. He was too preoccupied with his fantasy world. Nobody knows how he died except that, while under medical supervision, he and his doctor had gone for a walk and hours later they were found drowned in Stranberg lake.
Verlaine dedicated a poem to Ludwig in which he extols him as a defender of the arts and the lyre above science. It is said that he was a poet, a soldier and the only king in a century when kings were not great, and desired that his soul ascend to heaven while listening to Wagner’s music.
Perhaps he was the spirit of the times. Ludwig II was seized by something similar to that which took hold of Hölderlin (who lived for 30 years in a tower under the care of a carpenter) and Nerval (who, in his insanity, took a lobster for walks). Ludwig wanted to live in the past and in fiction, to build them and inhabit them. He is a quixotic figure, who rebelled against his times, and an avid fantasist. His castles remain as a testament to his greatness, and his madness.
When ancient rituals became religion
The emergence of religions irreversibly changed the history of humanity. It’s therefore essential to ask when and how did ancient peoples’ rituals become organized systems of thought, each with their
Seven ancient maps of the Americas
A map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski Maps are never merely maps. They’re human projections, metaphors in which we find both the geographical and the imaginary. The cases of ghost islands
An artist crochets a perfect skeleton and internal organs
Shanell Papp is a skilled textile and crochet artist. She spent four long months crocheting a life-size skeleton in wool. She then filled it in with the organs of the human body in an act as patient
A musical tribute to maps
A sequence of sounds, rhythms, melodies and silences: music is a most primitive art, the most essential, and the most powerful of all languages. Its capacity is not limited to the (hardly trivial)
The enchantment of 17th-century optics
The sense of sight is perhaps one the imagination’s most prolific masters. That is why humankind has been fascinated and bewitched by optics and their possibilities for centuries. Like the heart, the
Would you found your own micro-nation? These eccentric examples show how easy it can be
Founding a country is, in some ways, a simple task. It is enough to manifest its existence and the motives for creating a new political entity. At least that is what has been demonstrated by the
Wondrous crossings: the galaxy caves of New Zealand
Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” ––and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a
Think you have strange reading habits? Wait until you've seen how Mcluhan reads
We often forget or neglect to think about the infinite circumstances that are condensed in the acts that we consider habitual. Using a fork to eat, for example, or walking down the street and being
The sky is calling us, a love letter to the cosmos (video)
We once dreamt of open sails and Open seas We once dreamt of new frontiers and New lands Are we still a brave people? We must not forget that the very stars we see nowadays are the same stars and
The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)
Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier. Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the