Born in Herford, Westphalia, he settled in Dresden in 1680, and from 1705 was in charge of palace rebuildings for Friedrich Augustus II (the Strong), Elector of Saxony (1694–1733) and King of Poland (1697–1704 and 1709–33). His masterpiece is the Zwinger, Dresden (1711–28), a space surrounded by single-storey galleries linking two-storey pavilions and a gateway of extraordinary inventive Rococo vitality. Part orangery, part grandstand, part nymphaeum, and part gallery, it was intended to enhance Augustus's status by allusions to Roman theatres, fora, and thermae. Richly embellished with architectural sculpture by Balthasar Permoser (1651–1732), the Zwinger was to be part of a vast new palace designed by Pöppelmann that showed influences from Hildebrandt and Carlo Fontana, but the Kronentor (crown-gate) (1713) of the Zwinger was derived from plates 60 and 100 in Pozzo's Prattica della Perspettiva, published in a German edition in 1708.
The ‘Indian’ Schloss Pillnitz, upstream on the Elbe (1720–3), has charming Chinoiserie elements, including the roofs, and is one of the largest C18 European buildings in an oriental style. Pöppelmann was in charge of the alterations at the Dutch (later Japanese) Palace, Dresden, from 1715, but was gradually edged out by Longuelune whose flat elevations were a marked contrast to Pöppelmann's work, and the job was completed by de Bodt. From 1722 Pöppelmann worked on the alterations and rebuilding of the hunting-lodge, Moritzburg, again completed by Longuelune, and widened the C12 bridge over the Elbe at Dresden by cantilevering raised footpaths from the edges of the old structure. Iron railings were used to reduce the weight. The bridge (1727) is seen to best advantage in Bernardo Bellotto's (1720–80) views of the city. Pöppelmann designed the Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings Church), Dresden-Neustadt (1731–9), built by Georg Bähr, who altered the project as it was under construction. His last works were with Longuelune, preparing designs for a huge palace in Warsaw, not realized.
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