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The Semperoper, the Zwinger, the Frauenkirche and in their midst the Residenzschloss, Dresden’s royal palace. Dresden’s historic centre is studded with architectural highlights, and today it is hard to imagine that the Residenzschloss was reconstructed just a handful of years ago. Almost completely burnt out in the bombing of Dresden in February 1945, all that remained unharmed were a part of the palace’s Historisches Grünes Gewölbe (Historic Green Vault) and the basement rooms.
Until the late 1980s, not only were materials and finances lacking for maintenance and reconstruction, the political will for such an undertaking was absent in East Germany. This was in spite of volunteers and proactive public offices such as the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, the Technical University Dresden and the Dresden art collections themselves.
With German reunification came a reconception of the palace as a residence for art and science. In 1995, an international commission of experts recommended what today is reality: The historical and the new Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Cabinet of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), the Rüstkammer (Armoury) and the Münzkabinett (Coin Cabinet) were to belong to the museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), and to have their seat in the palace, with exhibition areas, storage spaces and offices. Further publically accessible places are the extensive art library, various lecture and study halls as well as (in the summer months) the tower known as the Hausmannsturm, which affords visitors who climb its 327 steps a spectacular view of Dresden. Visible from afar, the transparent dome structure which forms a roof over the small palace courtyard protects visitors in the foyer from the weather.
Every ruler left his own mark on the building: Under Elector Moritz, Renaissance influences came into play between 1548 and 1556 when Italian specialists were brought to Dresden to apply the elaborate sgraffito decoration, which may be enjoyed once again today on the façade of the palace courtyard. The latest historical redesign of the palace façades dates to 1889, when a Neo-Renaissance style was used. In 1701, a fire had destroyed the east wing and August the Strong developed a new design in response. But it was only for the wedding of his son in 1719 that the palace underwent its opulent Baroque transformation.
The audience hall, the parade bedroom and three other historical rooms were restored true to the original until September 2019 to impress visitors – as was the intention 300 years ago when they were set up by August the Strong. Also in 2019, the small ballroom was opened. The double-height space is akin to the Semperoper in terms of both its time of origin and its architecture. Using old construction techniques, it will be reconstructed in the historicist style and rendered true to the original. The 500 best and most resplendent firearms of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries from the holdings of the Saxon elector will return to the palace where they will be displayed in the Langer Gang.
valid for: Neues Grünes Gewölbe, Türckische Cammer, Rüstkammer im Riesensaal, current special exhibitions in the Kupferstich-Kabinett, except Historisches Grünes Gewölbe
Works originating from the late Renaissance from Dresden’s Kunstkammer form the focal point of this exhibition on the first floor of the Georgenbau.Read more