The TIEPOLO Mystery

The Night is the Queen of Shadows

Summer of 1753: Maestro Tiepolo is painting the world famous fresco – The Four Continents – in the Würzburg Residence. Dragons, shady figures and puzzling hieroglyphics foresee the fall of the godly heavens.
Lorenzo, the master’s youngest son, wants to steer fate onto a different course. But a two faced jester and a mysterious beauty cast the court of Prince-Bishop Greiffenclau into chaos.
It doesn’t take long for the fun and games to transform into deathly seriousness.

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What you will learn from the

... is certainly off the official guides.


Watch closely for they are hidden in Tiepolo's frescoes as well in Bossi's stucco. No big deal? Better think twice.

Heretical heaven

Apollo is one of the most important of the olympian deities. Surprisingly Mercury has taken over in Tiepolo's frescoe. How come?

Two faced jester

Nobody knows what this creepy guy is really up to. Chaos and turmoil accompany him.

Queen of Shadows

Walking the empty hallways of the Residence at night is a hazardous business. Something's hiding in the dark.

Man without a face

Everybody fears, insults and hates him - not for a good reason, but for their own angst and ignorance.

Mysterious hieroglyphics

Not one or two, dozens. All over the fresco, and nobody can decipher them. One dares and fails deathly.

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Watch the video to learn about the Residence and Tiepolo's frescoes

Maestros at the peak: Balthasar Neumann & G.B. Tiepolo

The Würzburg Residence was built in the 18th century. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The palace is a synthesis of a french chateau with italian architecture and the imperial baroque style of Vienna. The city's prince-bishops once lived here. It is one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe.

The Residence was built by court architect Balthasar Neumann and includes a much acclaimed staircase with awe inspiring frescoes by venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The stairwell fresco represents the four continents - America, Asia, Africa and Europe. The breathtaking painting, measuring 600 square meters, is one of the largest frescoes ever created. Surely it's the most precious one.

A "Must see" when you travel Europe or Germany.

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Currenly only available in german.

A Message from the Author

Jo Kilian is an alter ego of me - ROMAN RAUSCH - it's my criminal pseudonym.
Writing "The Tiepolo Mystery" was quite a challenge. Tons of books have been published so far about Tiepolo and his paintings and frescoes both in Italy, Germany and Spain. Everything is or at least seems to be known. So, how to add something new? Find a new angle or perspective to the most famous painter and fresco artist of the 18th century? To his breathtaking work of art - The Four Continents - in the Residence of Würzburg?
My answer was Curiosity & Doubt.
Curiosity - is there really nothing left to find out about the magnificent stairwell fresco?
Doubt - is everything sufficiently revealed?
Initial research fed my suspicions. Who's the "Man without a face" next to Antonio Bossi in the allegory of Europe? What message is hidden in the mysterious hieroglyphics of the allegory of Asia? Why does Mercury rule over Apollo in the Celestial Empire?
And most of all, why did Tiepolo do all this? What did happen in 1752/53 at the court of Prince-Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenclau? Why are the notes of Quartermaster Spielberger lost which cover this important time frame? And finally, why are Tiepolo's two sons - Domenico and Lorenzo - hardly mentioned in historiography? They followed him from Venice to Würzburg and helped him to create these marvellous paintings.
Well, in "The Tiepolo Mystery" I am trying to give answers. I hope you'll enjoy my little trip to history and suspense.