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Dresden State Art Collections Return to their Roots

| May 11, 2016 | 0 Comments
Dresden's Theaterplatz square with equestrian statue of King Johann of Saxony, Cathedral and Residenzschloss. Courtesy German National Tourist Office/Rainer Kiedrowski.

Dresden’s Theaterplatz square with equestrian statue of King Johann of Saxony, Cathedral and Residenzschloss. Courtesy German National Tourist Office/Rainer Kiedrowski.

In Dresden, art and history are constantly revealed and renewed. The city’s famous art collections come from a long and time-honored tradition of collecting from around the world by Saxony’s rulers from the House of Wettin who were in power for 829 years.

At the city’s Residenzschloss (palace) in the center of the old city, a new exhibit opened on March 19, 2016. This exhibition will be a permanent addition to the already overwhelmingly popular Armory Museum. Enitled “Concept and Encounter: The World Around 1600,” it takes visitors back to the days of the Renaissance and the rule of Elector Augustus who founded the Kunstkammer (Art Chamber) in 1560 which evolved into today’s Dresden State Art Collections, home of some of the best museums in the world.

Visiting Dresden’s Armory Museum in the center of the city on the Elbe is already a special experience. It has one of the most valuable collections of weapons and armory in the world belonging to Saxon Dukes and Electors from the House of Wettin. From the Riesensaal (Giants Hall) that opened in 2013 to the Türkische Kammer (Turkish Chamber) that opened in 2010, there is an abundance here that draws in any visitor. The armory unites the masterpieces of armorers, artists and artisans from all corners of Europe and the Orient and includes around 10,000 ceremonial weapons – armor, helmets, shields, swords, rapiers and daggers, sabers and maces, pistols and rifles. The exhibition also includes riding equipment, ceremonial clothes and works of art works as well as portraits, which are largely from the 16th to 18th centuries and come from the collection of the Wettin Electors.

The new permanent collection is just as exciting. The exhibition’s surface area covers approximately 6000 square feet. Seven rooms are dedicated to individual topics and the hall forms the starting point. Kurfürst (Elector) Augustus (from 1526 to 1586 and not to be confused with Augustus the Strong who came about 100 years later) was the founder of the art chamber and is the focal point of the long hallway. The collection concentrates on the range of appliances from garden tools to goldsmith, carpenter and iron forging tools. Another room hosts intricately decorated art chamber cupboards: two extensively fitted Augsburg high cabinets; two games tables incorporating iridescent mother of pearl; board games made from precious materials; music instruments; and delicate wood pieces turned into works of art.

Although Dresden is often called a Baroque city, this exhibition highlights the important influence the Renaissance had during Elector Augustus’s reign. Take a walk with a very detailed audio guide and see famous influences such as the famous Golden Portal of the castle church and the stable yards of the castle. The remains of the Renaissance fortifications are known today as The Dresden Fortress. This Fortress is said to be the oldest preserved part of Dresden and is hidden under the world-famous Bruehl’s Terrace on the Elbe River Valley.

The Dresden Stable Yards show a more glamorous side of the Renaissance. It was a venue for courtly tournaments, coursing and jousting. The Golden Portal is a declaration of faith by Saxony’s protestant rulers. When Dresden became the center of the Lutheran world in the mid 15th century, the new castle chapel was built. It was modeled after the world’s first newly-built Protestant church, the castle chapel in Torgau, also in Saxony, which had been dedicated by Martin Luther himself. The original baptismal font and precious silver vessels from Dresden’s castle chapel are now on display as part of the new exhibition of the Armory Museum in the palace.

Saxony is only a few hours by train from Frankfurt and Berlin and can be enjoyed at all times of year. Visitors can look forward to excellent meals alongside world-class museums, art, music and handicrafts.

For more visit

Courtesy Saxony Tourism

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