Jeff’s Gallery: Ludwig II

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A portrait of the Swan King the way he would probably want it. Image from

It is hard to make your mark in the world, especially as an artist. To create wonders but others can’t see what you’re trying to accomplish. It is especially hard when they expect you to be something you are not and you’re not given the choice of what to be. No one probably knew this better than Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm also known as Ludwig II the “Mad King” of Bavaria.

His Majesty was born on August 25, 1845 at Nymphenburg Palace, the summer residence of the Royal House of Wittelsbach, today in a suburb of Munich. His parents Maximilian II (then Crown Prince) and Marie of Prussia wanted to name him “Otto” But his grandfather; the current king of Bavaria, Ludwig I, insisted that the new prince be named after him since they shared the same birthday. His parents later named his brother Otto. As a child he and his brother were both drilled with the burdens of monarchy at early ages and Prince Ludwig was usually controlled by royal tutors and very strict studies but was never interested in politics. He was also never close to his parents and preferred his grandfather (who was also a bit of an eccentric himself, writing bad poetry about pretty much anything). He grew up at Hohenschwangau Castle near the Schwansee Lake. The castle’s Gothic Revival decorative style full of frescoes of heroic German sagas were very influential to him later in life. Ludwig was a great lover of arts, especially music, architecture and the Romantic operas of the distinguished composer Richard Wagner. He even became Wagner’s patron during the first half of his reign. He was also close friends with his aide-de-camp Prince Paul of the wealthy Thurn und Taxis family, until he was engaged in 1866 and the Duchess Elisabeth  of Bavaria, a distant cousin who was later Empress of the Austrian-Hungary Empire.

Flag, Coat of Arms, Map and Crown Jewels of the Kingdom of Bavaria during Ludwig’s reign. Images from, Canva put together by Michele Bledsoe.

Prince Ludwig became king at age 18 when his father died on March 10 1864. Although he was unprepared and uninterested in the position he was a popular monarch due to his age and good looks. He never liked large public functions and avoided large public social events as much as possible. Instead he preferred to travel the countryside chatting with locals and distributing lavish gifts to those who were friendly to him. While these did help his image with the people, it made him butt heads with the ministers (he never bothered to appoint new ministers when he started his reign, just kept his father’s). Also more trouble was heading his way, the Austro-Prussian war reared it’s ugly head just two years after he came to the throne and King Ludwig supported the losing side. Soon Bavaria was forced to ally with Prussia and later joined the North German Confederation. They did fight with Prussia and the other German states against France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Their victory led to the birth of the mighty German Empire the next year. Ludwig would continue to rule Bavaria but now under Prussia’s control, although it would still enjoy a number of freedoms as a kingdom. Still, he was very unhappy about Bavaria’s loss of independence and even refused to attend the Proclamation of the Empire in the Palace of Versailles, France. Instead he sent his brother Otto and uncle Luitpold as his representatives.

Richard Wagner
Brilliant but controversial opera composer, conductor and theater director Richard Wagner. Lugwig was a dedicated fan and patron early in his reign. Wagner’s work is still celebrated today. Image from Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The king withdrew from public life and began focusing on his real passions of the arts and the works of Richard Wagner. He worked to introduce famous operas, plays and ballets across Europe to his subjects and is said to have seen over 200 private performances in his life. He also started creating his greatest claim to fame, castle building. Inspired by his love of fantasy and the places he visited in France and Germany prior to the Franco-Prussian war, he designed several elaborate castles, as well as the interior, across his kingdom. He created the famous Neuschwanstein Castle near his childhood home, the small Linderhof Palace which was the only one completed during the king’s life, and on an island on Bavaria’s largest lake, the Chiemsee, he built the Herrenchiemsee, an intended copy of France’s Palace of Versailles. Ludwig also created a winter garden (or open conservatory)n to the Official Royal Palace, the Munich Residenz. He had plans for many more castles including a Chinese Summer Palace and the magnificent Falkenstein Castle that would even outdo Neuschwanstein. Unfortunately the winter garden was constructed after the king’s death due to water problems and the other castles only got as far as models and plans. Though there is a recreation of Falkenstein Castle in Texas (link here:

A castle in America, surprisingly not as uncommon as you might think. Image from

By now Ludwig II, King of Bavaria was falling out with his ministers even more than usual. Although he was decent enoph to use his own personal wealth instead of state funds for his projects, it all put him in great financial distress. He kept borrowing money from his relatives and attempted to make loans from royalty across Europe. He continued to work on his buildings non stop and ignored matters of state. He would dress up in costumes from his favorite stories and plays and act out scenes to no one. He usually dined alone and held conversations with historical figures long dead like Louis XIV of France. Another major issue was his sexuality. The king never had children, married or even have any mistresses, rare for a European monarch at the time. Through surviving diaries and personal letters we learn that Ludwig had strong homosexual desires and was deeply conflicted with them because of his strong Roman Catholic beliefs, especially since such feelings had not been punishable in the Kingdom of Bavaria since 1813, but were now illegal the German Empire. Although he was engaged to his cousin Duchess Sophie Charlotte and maybe did love her in a way, the relationship was canceled due to Ludwig constantly postponing the wedding. 

In 1886 his fairy-tale reign came to an end and it was no ‘happily ever after.’ King Ludwig was up to 14 million marks in personal debt and continued to borrow money instead cutting his expenses like his advisers suggested. He  was starting to feel like he was being constantly harassed by his ministers and decided to dismiss all of them and start all over. His government declared him paranoid and mentally insane, “proven,” by a group of doctors who never even met him but one, and that was just once 12 years earlier, using only his diaries (that they later had burned) mention of his attractions to men. On June 10 of that year a government commission took the king into custody. Still loved by his subjects, supporters and allies rallied by his side but were soon dispersed. He tried to escape but was soon captured. He was taken to Berg Castle and his uncle, Luitpold was made Prince Regent.

The spot where the Swan King died. He still gets an annual memorial service to this day.

Image from en/

On June 13, the former king went for a walk with his personal doctor, Bernhard von Gudden, who was one of the doctors who declared him insane. Hours later they found Dr. Gudden and King Ludwig dead in Lake Starnberg. It was officially declared that the king probably strangled the doctor, since there was some sign of a struggle, and then committed suicide by drowning. However Ludwig was known to be a powerful swimmer and no water was found in his lungs at the autopsy. There is still mixed evidence on how they died and conspiracy theorist say that the Fairy Tale King was murdered. As he had no heir his brother, Otto, was made king. Sadly he had even more mental issues then Ludwig so their uncle continued to rule in his name. Today there’s a chapel and memorial to the sad king’s death and a memorial service every year at the lake on June 13.

However, King Ludwig now has the last laugh. History is much more sympathetic and better understanding of his symptoms. It is believed that he suffered from Pick’s Disease or schizotypal personality disorder. His memory is still as beloved today as it was during his reign and his castles still stand as monuments of his unrealized dreams. They are now, ironically, world famous tourist attractions, bringing millions of marks into Bavaria and the Neuschwanstein Castle is even the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland.

Neuschwanstein Castle Panorama
The majestic Nuschwanstein Castle, a must see for anyone visiting Bavaria, Germany. image from

My Favorite Mythological Figures by Anna P

Hebe goddess of youth cupbearer of the Gods of Olympus. I first heard of this goddess reading the Percy Jackson series of books. She is mentioned in the books as a minor goddess. I always like learning of minor gods so I researched about her and I found it interesting she was the daughter of Hera and Zeus kinda making  her a princess but despite this she acts more like a servant to the other Gods . For example she drew baths for her brother Ares and helped her mother get into a chariot .However with further research I learned the reason for this was she represented the daughter of high ranking people in ancient Greece just the Goddess version. Also other sources say because she was a cupbearer she helped keep the Gods young and helped make them immortal, a powerful ability for a minor goddess. Also I think she needs more representation after all she is the goddess of youth and youth can be associated with rebellion, and her mother is Hera who is known for her temper, it would be cool if people expand on these ideas like they do with Persephone in modern media.

Psyche Many people know of the Fairy Tail of Beauty and the Beast. However in classical mythology there was a similar tale of Cupid and Psyche. First thing I want to mention is Cupid is actually the Greek name of Eros, a god and son of Aphrodite the Goddess of love and beauty. Psyche was a mortal princess and she is so beautiful. That people start worshiping her as Aphrodite herself  and lets just say Aphrodite was a bit offended and had her son use his arrow to shoot at her and make her fall in love with something ugly. But in a plot twist cupid accidently scrapes the arrow against his skin and being that Psyche is the first person he sees he falls in love with her. Psyche finds herself in a really fancy house. And I mean fancy. There are golden columns, silver walls and my favorite sight are jeweled mosaic floors. There’s a feast that serves itself and invisible singing to an invisible lyre. She falls in love with Cupid even though she can’t see because he leaves when it’s morning. Soon she becomes pregnant. Psyche brings her sisters to the house but her sisters get jealous of her fancy house and say the man she was sleeping with must be a monster. So she gets ready to kill cupid with a dagger but the lamp she is holding shows him to be a handsome god. The lamp oil drops on him injuring him and he flies away. After some wandering she becomes a servant to Aphrodite who physically abuses her. She bashes Psyche’s head in the ground, tears her clothes off and has her be whipped. One of the Tasks she sets for her is to get a cosmic jar form Persephone Queen of the underworld. As she is in the Underworld she sees disturbing figures: a lame man driving a mule loaded with sticks, a river with a dead man swimming in it as the river separates the world of the living and dead. Fortunately she gets the cosmetic jar. Unfortunately the jar is full of infernal and stygian sleep and she becomes lethargic. Cupid is healed from his injury and wakes her from her lethargy. Giving the jar to his mother, and making a deal with Zeus that if he can be with her and marry her he will help Zeus when he wants to cheat on his wife with a pretty maiden. Zeus and Aphrodite stop her crusade against Psyche and it’s a Happily ever after with their child being born. I like psyche because she is a mortal against a God and tries her hardest to get her love even though she could have broken from the pressure. She also  withstands all this pressure and wins against the literal goddess of beauty and love.

Update 6: Sika Senshi Deer Guardian – A Project by Chris M

Hey there, SEEDs Bloggers. I’ve got some good news related to my film project. Angel’s done with his short film script and is currently typing it out on Final Draft. We’ve also had discussions about working together on my movie idea. Looking forward to getting started. I guess I’ll tell you the name of the animation studio I’m working with; VawWorld Studios. They are an up-and-coming production house that produces animation as well as VFX for TV and films. They actually approached me to help put my Sika Senshi project together.

A New Project by Chris M

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Hi Bloggers, it’s Chris.

I have a new movie project-in development that I hope to work with first-time filmmaker Angel on when he’s finished with his mystery comedy short. I can’t share the official title yet, it’s up to Angel to confirm it, but it’s going to be an inspirational sports movie. Also, the sports movie we’ll be developing is only the beginning of our collaboration! Stay tuned.

Update 5: Sika Senshi Deer Guardian – A New Project by Chris M

Update 2: Sika Senshi Deer Guardian – A New Project by Chris M

Hi there Blog Readers, it’s Chris.

I have an exciting new update that I’d like to share with you just before the weekend. Things are moving forward for my film project currently in the works, Sika Senshi Deer Guardian. I’m working with another writer that I cannot name right now, but she has already written a fantasy novel before joining. Right now, we’re bouncing around ideas with each other on what to put in our screenplay.

Stay tuned for more exciting news to come.

Update 4: Sika Senshi Deer Guardian – A New Project by Chris M

Hey SEEDs Bloggers, it’s Chris.

Here is your latest update on how I’m doing on my “Sika Senshi” movie project. I’m starting a new draft of the script from scratch, while Devonte has started working on his own projects. I also have some exciting news: I’ve found an animation studio to pitch my idea to. Sadly I can’t confirm the name yet until my screenplay is ready to go. I wish Devonte the best on his separate projects and you stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

New Project Update by Chris M

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Hi there, Blog Readers. I have a special announcement I would like to share with you this week. After a long period of time, I’ve decided to try making comic books as part of SEEDs’ publishing agenda. I already have an idea for my first comic, but it might take time due to developing the artwork. I will share the official first-look in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Update 3: Sika Senshi Deer Guardian – A New Project by Chris M

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Hi there Blog Readers, Chris here.
I have a new update on my project-in development that I’d like to share with you. I’m collaborating with another writer, Devonte, on a new screenplay draft for my “Sika Senshi Deer Guardian” movie. Devonte is a talented writer at SEEDs who’s been taking classes on a website called Stage32 and has recently scripted a pilot for an animated series he worked on. Wish us good luck on our slow progress.