Goldener Saal im Rathaus
When the seven-storey city hall of Augsburg, which was built between 1615 and 1620 by Elias Holl (1573-1646) was opened, it was the tallest city hall in the world. On the third floor there is the famous “Goldene Saal” (great golden hall), which was designed as a meeting place for the “Große Rat” (Augsburg’s Great Assembly) consisting of 300 people.
The interior decoration is magnificent and was inspired by the design of the Dogen Palace in Venice. The interior of this hall, which is 32.5 m long, 17.3 m wide and 14 m high, was designed by Matthias Kager, but the marble flooring, the exclusive portals, the wall frescos as well as the wooden ceiling with paintings set into it were fully destroyed during World War II. Not until Augsburg’s 2000-year-aniversary in 1985 did the citizens have the chance to marvel at the reconstructed historic decoration. Part of the interior design is a golden ceiling made of carved walnut boxes with allegorical oil paintings set into it, which show the triumph of wisdom as well as 16 Christian and pagan emperors.
The paintings were done by Johann Matthias Kager (1575-1634), Augsburg’s official painter at that time. Jesuit, Mattäus Rader (1561-1634) was responsible for the drawings, while the initial sketches were done by Peter Candids (1584-1628). The oval painting in the middle depicts Sapientia (=wisdom), the most important virtue of emperors, on a triumphal carriage. The circular pieces of art on both sides of the hall show personifications of the art of war and the art of architecture. They are surrounded by four oval paintings depicting diligence, devoutness, work, knowledge, honesty, justice, wealth and the art of healing. Around the border of the ceiling are 24 emblems or symbols which illustrate the sayings of famous people. The Mozart family also visited the “Goldene Saal” when they came to Augsburg in 1763.