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German History in Documents and Images
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Theater Backdrop for a Hamburg Festival in Honor of Frederick III (1701)
Entitled “The Water Palace of Neptune,” this theater backdrop was designed in honor of Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg on the occasion of his coronation as King Frederick I of Prussia in 1701. The backdrop, which was geared toward the lavish tastes of this pleasure-seeking ruler, featured various hallmarks of Baroque extravagance: e.g., a stately palace, a waterfall, swans, and ornate seashells. Even though Hamburg was a bourgeois, free city, organizers clearly knew how to mount elaborate productions and offer up aristocratic excesses, when need be. Watercolor, unknown artist, 1701.