Ludovice Ensemble’s name pays homage to the German born architect and goldsmith Johann Friedrich Ludwig (1673-1752), known in Portugal as João Frederico Ludovice. With his lively, noble, wide-ranging style - particularly well-illustrated by his masterpiece, the Palace-Monastery of Mafra (classified as World Heritage by UNESCO) immortalized by the Nobel Prize for Literature José Saramago in his novel Baltazar and Blimunda - Ludwig left a powerful mark on Portuguese Baroque art and remains a permanent source of inspiration and a strong reference for the Ludovice Ensemble.
After spending his youth in his native Swabia working as a Goldsmith and Military Engineer, Ludwig travelled to Italy. In Rome, he converted to Catholicism and worked extensively to the Jesuits, mainly for the Chiesa del Gesú. The Jesuits invited Ludwig to work in Portugal, where he arrived in 1700. In Lisbon soon Ludwig found other employers beside the Jesuits and started working to other religious orders and the Portuguese Court. Ludwig fortune changed radically in 1711, when King John V of Portugal chose his project to build the new palace-monastery-basilica of Mafra instead of the plans by other famous Italian architects working at that time in Lisbon, like Filipo Juvara and Antonio Canevari. Ludwig directed the works until 1730, and was the main architect responsible for this vast and impressive building, combining Italian, German and French trends with some typical Portuguese solutions. The earthquake has destroyed his other masterwork, the Patriarchal Basilica and Royal palace in Lisbon, in 1755, but some of his creations still survive, such as the main altar at Évora’s Cathedral. King John V largely compensated Ludwig during his lifetime, offering him different positions and titles, such as Regius Architectus (Royal Architect). However, this supreme consecration just turned to be official in the reign of John V’s son, King Joseph I. Ludwig died in Lisbon, in 1752, surrounded by recognition and glory.