Modern art meets Baroque

The Grotto by Niki de Saint Phalle

The world-famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle created her last work of art in Herrenhausen's Grosser Garten, transforming the 330-year-old Grotto into a place of mystery and magic.

Niki de Saint Phalle Grotto © HMTG

Niki de Saint Phalle Grotto

The Grotto inside Grosser Garten © LHH

The Grotto

In the Grotto, the architectural focus of the western parterre axis, Franco-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle created modern art to delight the senses in a Baroque setting. This final declaration of affection for the people of Hannover from one of its honorary citizens must be counted among her finest works. She transformed the three rooms of the Grotto, in which court society of the 17th and 18th centuries took its ease in the cool rooms, into a unique, matchless temple of the arts that has become a place of pilgrimage for her admirers since it opened in 2003.

The princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York and Ronald Clark, director of the Royal Gardens, visit the Grotto © LHH (photographer: Christian Burkert)

During their visit to Hannover in January 2013, princesses Eugenie and Beatrice of York were guided through the Grotto by Ronal Clark, director of the Royal Gardens

From a central column in the middle room, which the artist named 'Spirituality', a spiral of luminous orange, gold and yellow interspersed with river pebbles winds out over the ceiling and walls. The deep blue right-hand room, entitled 'The Night and the Cosmos', is a tribute to painter Henri Matisse. Arrows direct floating female forms into the cosmos. The third, left-hand room is in sparkling silver: 'The Day and the Light' is a hall of mirrors whose brightness symbolises life.