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One of Württemberg's late medieval palaces

Urach Residential Palace

Detail of the wooden figure bearing the likeness of Count Heinrich von Württemberg in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida
Created for an ancestral line

Portrait of

Heinrich von Württemberg

The wooden figure bearing the likeness of Count Heinrich von Württemberg stands in Urach's Golden Hall. It served as the inspiration for a Renaissance stone statue, one of the statues of the Counts of Württemberg that stands in the collegiate church in Stuttgart.

Wooden figure bearing the likeness of Count Heinrich von Württemberg in the Golden Hall, Urach Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida

Life-size portrait of the count.

Portrait with an ornate frame

The life-size portrait in the middle of the model is a relief, with face and figure carved realistically and lifelike. The wide frame is decorated with elaborate ornamentation and figures. The count stands atop a lion, a sign of his sovereign dignity. He is dressed in armor and holds a sword in his left hand, a commander's baton in his right. Under the gable above his head, an inscription and the Württemberg-Mömpelgard coat of arms provide information about the count.

The count's coat of arms in the model gable, Golden Hall, Urach Palace; Image: Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Janna Almeida

Heinrich's coat of arms, count of Württemberg-Mömpelgard for five years.

Duke Ludwig's ancestral line

Around 1575, Duke Ludwig, Heinrich's great-grandson, decided to install a sort of ancestral portrait gallery in the collegiate church in Stuttgart. The Dukes of Württemberg who were buried there were to be immortalized in the shape of life-size reliefs. This included Count Heinrich. First, a model of Heinrich's relief was created. Augsburg sculptor Paul Mair was granted the commission. He carved the wooden likeness based on a design by Stuttgart painter Hans Steiner around 1577. The model, carved of linden wood, was unpainted from the beginning.

Detail of the ancestral line in the collegiate church in Stuttgart. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

The line of ancestors in Stuttgart’s collegiate church.

Renaissance works of art made of stone

Originally, the wooden model was to be cast in iron, but this never happened. The row of Württemberg dukes was finally carried out in stone by sculptor Sem Schlör. To this day, the eleven statues can be admired along the north wall of the choir in Stuttgart's collegiate church. How the wooden model made it to Urach and whether or not additional models of other counts exist, remains unknown. The model hung in the Knights’ Hall for a long time before being displayed in the Golden Hall.

A victim of political intrigues

Heinrich von Württemberg (1448–1519) was the Count of Württemberg-Mömpelgard from 1473 to 1482. In 1482, Heinrich passed the Mömpelgard countship to his brother, Eberhard. But Heinrich's cousin also stood in his way: in 1490, Count Eberhard V had him arrested for reasons of political power. The reason given for the arrest was an alleged insanity. Until his death in 1519, Heinrich was held captive, along with his wife, at the Hohenurach fortress.

View of Hohenurach Castle from below. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

The Hohenurach stronghold above the city.

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