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To commemorate Frederick the Great's 300th birthday in 2012, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG) is showing the central presentation about the monarch in his largest and most magnificent palace building, the Neues Palais in Sanssouci Park, which he designed in nearly every detail. The focus is the personality of King Frederick II of Prussia. Under the leitmotif "Friederisiko" (Frederick's Risk), his ideas, thoughts and actions – timely, inspiring, even provocative and surprising in many instances – are represented and conveyed at an authentic residence and representational setting of the king. Consequently, the Neues Palais is the outstanding, key exhibit of the presentation. It reflects the political and cultural points of view held by the mature Prussian king following the end of the Seven Years' War.
"Friederisiko” is the largest exhibition the SPSG has ever shown. It extends throughout the palace, over approximately 6,000 sq. m. Around 70 interiors will be accessible, some for the first time. The presentation represents a challenge with regard to content, design and production or technical respects, because the concept of the presentation is developed from Frederick's precisely considered functional and objective uses for the Frederician palace interiors. His ideas are made visible and are emphasized by a skillful, eloquent design. In the interiors and/or suites of the Neues Palais, a theme, an event or an aspect from the life and times of Frederick II will be introduced through 500 additional, spectacular exhibits, as well as telling quotations and short, self-contained explanatory texts. The themes presented in the palace interiors and in select sections of the garden at ten sites in Sanssouci Park permit rare insight into Frederick's private sphere, while also introducing his diverse political and cultural actions, as well as their impact.
The leitmotif of the exhibition is the correlation between Frederick and risk that becomes "Friederisiko.” The pleasure Frederick derived in risk-taking is a striking characteristic of this monarch. Viewing Frederick the Great, his life, his world of thoughts and his actions under the aspect of "risk” guarantees to provide new, surprising and also provocative realizations. Like no one else, Frederick repeatedly "put all his eggs in one basket” throughout his life. His inclinations to take risks, which he uncompromisingly pursued, were his means and incentive on his path to glory.
The Neues Palais
Utilizing the king's most personal legacy, the concept of the exhibition was essentially developed from the palace and gardens themselves, in the lavishly restored halls and interiors of the Neues Palais (some of which are accessible for the first time), as well as at select locations in Sanssouci Park. The Neues Palais, created after the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, in only six years of construction, was very consciously built for Frederick's contemporaries and subsequent generations as a triumphal monument of his military and personal fame. Frederick consistently asserted his ideas during the planning of the building and for its interior décor. The exhibition invites visitors into 70 interiors – reconstructed to a contemporary state or extensively arranged into a museum environment – to discover the man and the character of Frederick the Great. Strolling through the palace, visitors will learn about the eating and sleeping habits of the king, his usual routine, his relations to friends and guests (of state), his attitude towards politics, religion or music that also include his own productions as a philosopher and imperator. The Neues Palais provides insights about why and how Frederick became "the Great” and what makes him still appear "Great” to us today. At the same time, it also offers new perspectives on major European themes of the 18th century – on government, religion, culture and philosophy. Nearly all areas of the palace can be experienced as a synthesis of the arts through its silk fabrics, damask and brocade wallpaper, unique parquet floors and furniture. Moreover, visitors will be able to gain insight into some of the restoration processes currently still in progress in various interiors.
The exhibition is divided into 12 themes. Eleven themes are presented in the Neues Palais; the twelfth theme, Frederick's garden, will be explained at ten sites in Sanssouci Park. Aided by a printed guide, visitors can independently choose among various topics about Frederick according to their personal interests, and then enter onto an exciting journey of discovery through the palace along the designated "paths.”
"Friederisiko” at the Neues Palais, Potsdam, Brandenburg,
April 28 – October 28, 2012.