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Royal treasures from gems to clothing: The continuing Residenzschloss reconstruction

Royal treasures from gems to clothing: The continuing Residenzschloss reconstruction

Along with its brilliant history, Dresden, is a safe keeper for treasures from the past from jewels to fine clothing. From fine lace to royal gems, the likes of which have only been seen in artworks from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, a new exhibition will soon be available to experience in Germany’s capital of Saxony.

In 1987, shortly after completion of the Semper Opera House, the former East German government began the reconstruction of Dresden’s war-ravaged Royal Palace (Residenzschloss) which had only just barely escaped the nationwide demolition of castles and churches under Walter Ulbricht. The spectacular palace at the heart of the city has been regarded as Dresden’s most ambitious reconstruction project ever since. The free state of Saxony has spent more than 500 million euro to date on its development into a citadel of science and art under the administration of the Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).

Over the past ten years, a steady stream of visitors has marveled at the treasures on display in the reconstructed Baroque setting of the Historic Green Vault, the world’s probably biggest treasury museum. The vault’s name incidentally originates from the first known mention of a repository in 1572 which was painted green and located on the ground floor of the Royal Palace. After the Green Vault, (re)opening, followed the so-called “English Stairway,” the Gallery of the Electors, the Turkish Chamber, the palace chapel, the Armoury in the Hall of the Giants, and most recently, the Coin Cabinet within the palace in June 2015. Current reconstruction efforts are focused on the 19th century Small Ballroom. With “Weltsicht und Wissen um 1600” (Concept and Encounter: The World around 1600) the next part of another larger exhibition area at the Dresden Residenzschloss opened in March 2016.

The new permanent exhibition in the Residenzschloss from April 2017 will be focused on “The Electoral Warderobe.” Original costumes held in the Rüstkammer that were worn by the electors of Saxony in the period from about 1550 to 1650 illustrate the luxurious princely fashions of the Renaissance and early Baroque, such as are otherwise seen only on portraits of the great rulers of that era.

In four rooms, a fascinatingly splendid show of luxurious fabrics, embroidery, lace, and passementerie in gold, silver, and silk will be a feast for the eyes. The entire collection consists of 27 costumes belonging to the former rulers – 6 complete costume ensembles, 11 sets of matching doublet and breeches, 4 ladies’ dresses, and 6 individual outer garments. These items of clothing are unrivaled among international museums.

The coming years will see the reconstruction of the sgraffito façades in the Great Palace Courtyard as well as the restoration of August the Strong’s historical parade rooms.

For more information, click here.

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