Dresden Castle in 2008
|Architectural style||Neo-renaissance, Baroque|
|Owner||Free State of Saxony|
Dresden Castle or Royal Palace (German : Dresdner Residenzschloss or Dresdner Schloss) is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden, Germany. For almost 400 years, it was the residence of the electors (1547–1806) and kings (1806–1918) of Saxony from the Albertine House of Wettin as well as Kings of Poland (1697–1763). It is known for the different architectural styles employed, from Baroque to Neo-renaissance.
Today, the residential castle is a museum complex that contains the Historic and New Green Vault, the Numismatic Cabinet, the Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs and the Dresden Armory with the Turkish Chamber. It also houses an art library and the management of the Dresden State Art Collections.
The original castle was a Romanesque keep, built around 1200. The Hausmannsturm was built at the beginning of the 15th century. From 1468 until 1480, the keep was extended by the master builder, Arnold von Westfalen, becoming an enclosed four-wing construction. In the middle of the 16th century, an addition was made in the Renaissance style.
After a major fire in 1701, Augustus II the Strong rebuilt much of the castle in the Baroque style.The collection rooms were created at this time in the western wing. The Silver Room, Heraldic Room and the Pretiosensaal were built from 1723–1726 and the Kaminzimmer, Juwelenzimmer (Jewel Room), Ivory Room and Bronze Room were built from 1727–1729.
The 800th anniversary of the House of Wettin, Saxony's ruling family, resulted in more rebuilding between 1889 and 1901.
A Neo-renaissance renovation was undertaken, followed by various modernizations, such as in-floor heating and electric lights in 1914.On the outside of the Stallhof (Stall Courtyard), which links the castle complex with the adjacent Johanneum, the "Procession of Princes" was painted by the artist Wilhelm Walther. The 102-meter-long mural represents the history of the Wettins. Since it quickly faded, it was transferred to about 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907.
Most of the castle was reduced to a roofless shell during 13 February 1945 bombing of Dresden in World War II. Three rooms of the Green Vault were destroyed. However, the collections survived, having been moved to safety at Königstein Fortress in the early years of the war.
For the first 15 years after the end of the Second World War, no attempt was made to rebuild the castle, except to install a temporary roof in 1946. Restoration began in the 1960s with the installation of new windows and has occurred rapidly since then. The castle's restoration is ongoing, with part of the State Apartments set to reopen in September 2019.
Dresden castle houses five museum sections, the Historic Green Vault and the New Green Vault, the Numismatic Cabinet, the Collection of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs and the Dresden Armory with the Turkish Chamber and the Renaissance Wing.
Also accessible is an art library (Kunstbibliothek) with approximately 260,000 volumes of special literature on art history.The character of the holdings is closely related to the collecting focal points of the museums.
The Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) is a museum that contains the largest collection of treasures in Europe. Founded by Augustus II the Strong in 1723, it features a unique and rich variety of exhibits from the period of baroque to classicism. The museum consists of the Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe) and the New Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe).
The Historic Green Vault is known for its treasure chambers and is itself a baroque work of art. The New Green Vault is more modern. The Historic Green Vault is located on the ground floor of the Dresden Castle and visits require an advance booking; admittance to the New Green Vault, which is on the second floor, is not limited.
The Numismatic Cabinet ( Münzkabinett ), with its nearly 300,000 pieces, is one of Dresden’s oldest museums, dating back to the early 16th century. It contains one of the largest universal collections in Europe. Its broad-spectrum ranges from classical antiquity to present-day coins. Some 30,000 Saxon coins and medals represent different periods in Saxony's history. The collection also includes orders and insignia, banknotes and historic bonds, models, seals, minting dies for coins and medals, as well as minting machines and equipment.
The exhibition shows around 3,300 outstanding objects in four rooms, which represent a cross-section of the various parts of the collection. The Numismatic Cabinet is also a center of scholarly research and has a public library of some 30,000 volumes.
The Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs (Kupferstich-Kabinett) shows work by renowned artists from numerous countries. There are approximately 515,000 objects by more than 20,000 artists across eight centuries. It holds drawings and prints by old masters such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Caspar David Friedrich, as well as later artists, like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso. Engravings by Martin Schongauer and woodcuts by Lucas Cranach the Elder are shown along with photographic works.There is also a collection of drawings and graphic art by Käthe Kollwitz.
Originating from weapons owned by Saxon Dukes and Electors, the Dresden Armory (Rüstkammer) owns one of the most valuable collections of weapons and armory in the world. The exhibition includes around 10,000 objects, including helmets, shields, swords, rapiers, daggers, sabres and maces, pistols and rifles, riding equipment and ceremonial clothes.
The Turkish Chamber (Türckische Cammer) is a separate collection within the Dresden Armory that is focused on art from the Ottoman Empire. It displays more than 600 objects of art from the Ottoman Empire, making it one of the oldest and most significant collections outside Turkey. Between the 16th and the 19th centuries, the electors of Saxony, motivated by their passion for collecting and their desire for princely prestige, amassed a wealth of "turquerie".
The Renaissance Wing (Renaissanceflügel) presents a multitude of ornate objects, costumes, and weapons, offering a unique glimpse into the world of the Electors of Saxony during the Renaissance.
A suite of four fully restored staterooms will reopen in September 2019, marking the 300th anniversary since they were first constructed by Augustus the Strong. Additionally, the Small Ballroom in the Georgenbau has reopened, showcasing one of the 19th-century additions to the palace.
On 25 November 2019, masked thieves stole royal Polish-Saxon jewels and priceless objects from the museum, in what would be referred to as the Dresden heist. The thieves disabled a junction box and were able enter the premises through a diversion. The getaway car was later found in an underground car park. The press called the robbery one of the largest and most significant since World War II, with the loot's worth estimated at nearly 1 billion euros.
Dresden is the capital city of the German state of Saxony, and with around 550,000 inhabitants, it is the state's second most populous city after Leipzig. It is the 12th most populous city of Germany, the fourth largest by area after Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, as well as the third most populous city in the area of former East Germany, after (East) Berlin and Leipzig. Dresden is contiguous with Freital, Pirna, Radebeul, Meissen and Coswig, and its urban area has around 780,000 inhabitants, making it the largest in Saxony.
The Dresden Green Diamond, also known as "Dresden Green", is a 41 carats (8.2 g) natural green diamond, which probably originated in the Kollur mine in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India.
Schatzkammer, a German word which means "treasury" or "treasure chamber", is a term sometimes used in English for the collection of treasures, especially objets d’art in precious metals and jewels, of a ruler or other collector which are kept in a secure room and often found in the basement of a palace or castle. It also often included the wider types of object typical of the Renaissance cabinet of curiosities. A very small but evocative Renaissance room in a tower at Lacock Abbey was designed for keeping and viewing the treasures of the newly rich owner.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany, displays around 750 paintings from the 15th to the 18th centuries. It includes major Italian Renaissance works as well as Dutch and Flemish paintings. Outstanding works by German, French and Spanish painters of the period are also among the gallery's attractions.
The Albertinum is a modern art museum. The sandstone-clad Renaissance Revival building is located on Brühl's Terrace in the historic center of Dresden, Germany. It is named after King Albert of Saxony.
Johann Melchior Dinglinger was one of Europe's greatest goldsmiths, whose major works for the elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong, survived in the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden. Dinglinger was the last goldsmith to work on the grand scale of Benvenuto Cellini and Wenzel Jamnitzer, fewer of whose large-scale works in precious materials have survived, however. His work carries on in a Mannerist tradition into the "Age of Rococo".
Balthasar Permoser was among the leading sculptors of his generation, whose evolving working styles spanned the late Baroque and early Rococo.
The Green Vault is a museum located in Dresden, Germany, which contains the largest treasure collection in Europe. The museum was founded in 1723 by Augustus the Strong of Poland and Saxony, and it features a variety of exhibits in styles from Baroque to Classicism. The Green Vault is named after the formerly malachite green painted column bases and capitals of the initial rooms. It has some claim to be the oldest museum in the world; it is older than the British Museum, opened in 1759, but the Vatican Museums date their foundation to the public display of the newly excavated Laocoön group in 1506.
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden is a cultural institution in Dresden, Germany, owned by the State of Saxony. It is one of the most renowned and oldest museum institutions in the world, originating from the collections of the Saxon electors in the 16th century.
Dresden is a cultural centre in Germany which has influenced the development of European culture. "It is [...] outstanding as a cultural landscape, an ensemble that integrates the celebrated Baroque setting and suburban garden city into an artistic whole within the river valley, and as an example of land use, representing an exceptional development of a major Central-European city."
The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon in Dresden, Germany, is a museum of historic clocks and scientific instruments. Its holdings include terrestrial and celestial globes, astronomical, optical and geodetic devices dating back to the 16th century, as well as historic instruments for calculating and drawing length, mass, temperature and air pressure.
The Dresden Armoury or Dresden Armory, also known as the Dresden Historical Museum, is one of the world's largest collections of ceremonial weapons, armour and historical textiles. It is part of the Dresden State Art Collections and is located in Dresden Castle in Dresden.
The Fürstenzug in Dresden, Germany, is a large mural of a mounted procession of the rulers of Saxony. It was originally painted between 1871 and 1876 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty, Saxony's ruling family. In order to make the work weatherproof, it was replaced with approximately 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles between 1904 and 1907. With a length of 102 metres (335 ft), it is known as the largest porcelain artwork in the world. The mural displays the ancestral portraits of the 35 margraves, electors, dukes and kings of the House of Wettin between 1127 and 1904.
The Kupferstich-Kabinett is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen of Dresden, Germany. Since 2004 it has been located in Dresden Castle.
The Münzkabinett is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Founded around 1530, it is one of the oldest museums in Dresden. It is located in Dresden Castle.
Pillnitz Castle is a restored Baroque palace at the eastern end of the city of Dresden in the German state of Saxony. It is located on the bank of the River Elbe in the former village of Pillnitz. Pillnitz Castle was the summer residence of many electors and kings of Saxony; it is also known for the Declaration of Pillnitz in 1791.
The Johanneum is a 16th-century Renaissance building, originally named Stallgebäude because it was constructed as the royal mews. It is located at the Neumarkt in Dresden.
Schloss Weesenstein is a Schloss located in Weesenstein, a small village, part of Müglitztal in the Müglitz river valley, around 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of Dohna in Saxony, Germany.
On 25 November 2019, royal jewellery was stolen from the Green Vault museum within Dresden Castle in Dresden, Germany. The stolen items include the 49-carat Dresden White Diamond, the diamond-laden breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle which belonged to the King of Poland, a hat clasp with a 16-carat diamond, a diamond epaulette, and a diamond-studded hilt containing nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, along with a matching scabbard. The missing items were of great cultural value to the State of Saxony and were described as priceless; other sources estimate the total value at about €1 billion.
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