List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
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the street as an obstruction.  A walk runs on each side of it.  The
Propylaeum, another magnificent gateway, thrown across the handsome
Brienner Strasse, beyond the Glyptothek, is an imitation of that on
the Acropolis at Athens.  It has fine Doric columns on the outside,
and Ionic within, and the pediment groups are bas-reliefs, by
Schwanthaler, representing scenes in modern Greek history.  The
passageways for carriages are through the side arches; and thus the
"sidewalk" runs into the center of the street, and foot-passers must
twice cross the carriage-drive in going through the gate.  Such
things as these give one the feeling that art has been forced beyond
use in Munich; and it is increased when one wanders through the new
churches, palaces, galleries, and finds frescoes so prodigally
crowded out of the way, and only occasionally opened rooms so
overloaded with them, and not always of the best, as to sacrifice all
effect, and leave one with the sense that some demon of unrest has
driven painters and sculptors and plasterers, night and day, to adorn
the city at a stroke; at least, to cover it with paint and bedeck it
with marbles, and to do it at once, leaving nothing for the sweet
growth and blossoming of time.

You see, it is easy to grumble, and especially in a cheerful, open,
light, and smiling city, crammed with works Of art, ancient and
modern, its architecture a study of all styles, and its foaming beer,
said by antiquarians to be a good deal better than the mead drunk in
Odin's halls, only seven and a half kreuzers the quart.  Munich has
so much, that it, of course, contains much that can be criticised.
The long, wide Ludwig Strasse is a street of palaces,--a street built
up by the old king, and regarded by him with great pride.  But all
the buildings are in the Romanesque style,--a repetition of one
another to a monotonous degree: only at the lower end are there any
shops or shop-windows, and a more dreary promenade need not be
imagined.  It has neither shade nor fountains; and on a hot day you
can see how the sun would pour into it, and blind the passers.  But
few ever walk there at any time.  A street that leads nowhere, and
has no gay windows, does not attract.  Toward the lower end, in the
Odeon Platz, is the equestrian statue of Ludwig, a royally commanding
figure, with a page on either side.  The street is closed (so that it
flows off on either side into streets of handsome shops) by the
Feldherrnhalle, Hall of the Generals, an imitation of the beautiful
Loggia dei Lanzi, at Florence, that as yet contains only two statues,
which seem lost in it.  Here at noon, with parade of infantry, comes
a military band to play for half an hour; and there are always plenty
of idlers to listen to them.  In the high arcade a colony of doves is
domesticated; and I like to watch them circling about and wheeling
round the spires of the over-decorated Theatine church opposite, and
perching on the heads of the statues on the facade.

The royal palace, near by, is a huddle of buildings and courts, that
I think nobody can describe or understand, built at different times
and in imitation of many styles.  The front, toward the Hof Garden, a
grassless square of small trees, with open arcades on two sides for
shops, and partially decorated with frescoes of landscapes and
historical subjects, is "a building of festive halls," a facade eight
hundred feet long, in the revived Italian style, and with a fine
Ionic porch.  The color is the royal, dirty yellow.

On the Max Joseph Platz, which has a bronze statue of King Max, a
seated figure, and some elaborate bas-reliefs, is another front of
the palace, the Konigsbau, an imitation, not fully carried out, of
the Pitti Palace, at Florence.  Between these is the old Residenz,
adorned with fountain groups and statues in bronze.  On another side
are the church and theater of the Residenz.  The interior of this
court chapel is dazzling in appearance: the pillars are, I think,
imitation of variegated marble; the sides are imitation of the same;
the vaulting is covered with rich frescoes on gold ground.  The whole
effect is rich, but it is not at all sacred.  Indeed, there is no
church in Munich, except the old cathedral, the Frauenkirche, with
its high Gothic arches, stained windows, and dusty old carvings, that
gives one at all the sort of feeling that it is supposed a church
should give.  The court chapel interior is boastingly said to
resemble St. Mark's, in Venice.

You see how far imitation of the classic and Italian is carried here
in Munich; so, as I said, the buildings need the southern sunlight.
Fortunately, they get the right quality much of the time.  The
Glyptothek, a Grecian structure of one story, erected to hold the
treasures of classic sculpture that King Ludwig collected, has a
beautiful Ionic porch and pediment.  On the outside are niches filled
with statues.  In the pure sunshine and under a deep blue sky, its
white marble glows with an almost ethereal beauty.  Opposite stands
another successful imitation of the Grecian style of architecture,--a
building with a Corinthian porch, also of white marble.  These, with
the Propylaeum, before mentioned, come out wonderfully against a blue
sky.  A few squares distant is the Pinakothek, with its treasures of
old pictures, and beyond it the New Pinakothek, containing works of
modern artists.  Its exterior is decorated with frescoes, from
designs by Kaulbach: these certainly appear best in a sparkling
light; though I am bound to say that no light can make very much of

Yet Munich is not all imitation.  Its finest street, the Maximilian,
built by the late king of that name, is of a novel and wholly modern
style of architecture, not an imitation, though it may remind some of
the new portions of Paris.  It runs for three quarters of a mile,
beginning with the postoffice and its colonnades, with frescoes on
one side, and the Hof Theater, with its pediment frescoes, the
largest opera-house in Germany, I believe; with stately buildings
adorned with statues, and elegant shops, down to the swift-flowing
Isar, which is spanned by a handsome bridge; or rather by two
bridges, for the Isar is partly turned from its bed above, and made
to turn wheels, and drive machinery.  At the lower end the street
expands into a handsome platz, with young shade trees, plats of
grass, and gay beds of flowers.  I look out on it as I write; and I
see across the Isar the college building begun by Maximilian for the
education of government officers; and I see that it is still
unfinished, indeed, a staring mass of brick, with unsightly
scaffolding and gaping windows.  Money was left to complete it; but
the young king, who does not care for architecture, keeps only a
mason or two on the brick-work, and an artist on the exterior
frescoes.  At this rate, the Cologne Cathedral will be finished and
decay before this is built.  On either side of it, on the elevated
bank of the river, stretch beautiful grounds, with green lawns, fine
trees, and well-kept walks.

Not to mention the English Garden, in speaking of the outside aspects
of the city, would be a great oversight.  It was laid out originally
by the munificent American, Count Rumford, and is called English, I
suppose, because it is not in the artificial Continental style.
Paris has nothing to compare with it for natural beauty,--Paris,
which cannot let a tree grow, but must clip it down to suit French
taste.  It is a noble park four miles in length, and perhaps a
quarter of that in width,--a park of splendid old trees, grand,
sweeping avenues, open glades of free-growing grass, with delicious,
shady walks, charming drives and rivers of water.  For the Isar is
trained to flow through it in two rapid streams, under bridges and
over rapids, and by willow-hung banks.  There is not wanting even a
lake; and there is, I am sorry to say, a temple on a mound, quite in
the classic style, from which one can see the sun set behind the many
spires of Munich.  At the Chinese Tower two military bands play every
Saturday evening in the summer; and thither the carriages drive, and
the promenaders assemble there, between five and six o'clock; and
while the bands play, the Germans drink beer, and smoke cigars, and
the fashionably attired young men walk round and round the, circle,
and the smart young soldiers exhibit their handsome uniforms, and
stride about with clanking swords.

We felicitated ourselves that we should have no lack of music when we
came to Munich.  I think we have not; though the opera has only just
begun, and it is the vacation of the Conservatoire.  There are first
the military bands: there is continually a parade somewhere, and the
streets are full of military music, and finely executed too.  Then of
beer-gardens there is literally no end, and there are nightly
concerts in them.  There are two brothers Hunn, each with his band,
who, like the ancient Huns, have taken the city; and its gardens are
given over to their unending waltzes, polkas, and opera medleys.
Then there is the church music on Sundays and holidays, which is
largely of a military character; at least, has the aid of drums and
trumpets, and the whole band of brass.  For the first few days of our
stay here we had rooms near the Maximilian Platz and the Karl's Thor.
I think there was some sort of a yearly fair in progress, for the
great platz was filled with temporary booths: a circus had set itself
up there, and there were innumerable side-shows and lottery-stands;
and I believe that each little shanty and puppet-show had its band or
fraction of a band, for there was never heard such a tooting and
blowing and scraping, such a pounding and dinning and slang-whanging,
since the day of stopping work on the Tower of Babel.  The circus
band confined itself mostly to one tune; and as it went all day long,
and late into the night, we got to know it quite well; at least, the
bass notes of it, for the lighter tones came to us indistinctly.  You
know that blurt, blurt, thump, thump, dissolute sort of caravan tune.
That was it.

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