At an inauguration ceremony today, two historic rooms of the Fuggerhouse in Augsburg, Germany, were reopened to the public to mark the completion of extensive conservation work. The mayor of Augsburg, donors to the project, and representatives of the Denkmalamt of Bavaria were present.
The conservation of these two Renaissance masterpieces was sponsored by World Monuments Fund
(WMF) and the Messerschmitt Foundation, Freistaat Bayern Entschädigungsfond, Bayerische Landesstiftung, Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, Bezirk Schwaben, and Mr. and Mrs. S. Schlaifer. WMF supported the conservation of the Muse Room and other partners funded work on the Zodiac Room.
The Fuggerhouse in Augsburg was the home of several generations of the Fugger family, one of the richest and most powerful European banking families in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The house was enlarged between 1568 and 1573, during which time new interiors were created and decorated under the leadership of Friedrich Sustris, the German-Dutch Mannerist painter and architect, with contributions from painter Antonio Ponzano, stucco artist Carlo di Cesare de Palagio, and woodcarver Wendel Dietrich. The layout of the rooms follows Upper Italian models and was the inspiration for buildings at the ducal court in Munich. The building was damaged in 1944, during World War II, resulting in the destruction of many of the decorated rooms. Smaller rooms, including the Muse and Zodiac rooms, survived.
Investigations undertaken in the late 1990s uncovered serious conservation needs in the rooms, especially infiltration of salt into layers of plaster. The desalinization of surfaces in the rooms became a priority to stem further deterioration; other significant work focused on the stabilization and cleaning of plaster surfaces and painted layers. Following the completion of conservation work, a monitoring system was installed to detect future salt infiltration.