Published: October 29, 2002
DRESDEN, GERMANY – The Dresden Porcelain Collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen is among the most important and, with 20,000 exhibits, the most comprehensive collection of ceramics in the world.
After three years of intensive reconstruction and renovation, the Zwinger, which was destroyed in World War II and reconstructed in 1952, has been restored to its Eighteenth Century splendor. The gallery space has also been enlarged to approximately 1,500 square meters.
It was Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, who brought the famous Dresden Porcelain Collection into being. He once ironically referred to his passion for the valuable and fragile material as his maladie de porcelaine. In 1721 his collection already comprised more than 14,500 rdf_Descriptions from China, Japan and from the porcelain factory in Meissen, which he had founded in 1710. The comparative presentation of Oriental and European porcelain is an encounter between Asian and Western cultures. Numerous rdf_Descriptions from the collection of Augustus the Strong are copies based on Oriental models manufactured at Meissen and reflect the fascination exerted by the Orient in the European royal courts in the Seventeenth Century.
Augustus the Strong spent enormous sums on the expansion of his collection. The history of the acquisition of a series of Chinese vases has already become almost legendary: In 1717 Augustus the Strong acquired 151 Chinese porcelain vessels decorated in blue and white and owned by Frederick William I of Prussian in exchange for 600 soldiers from his own army. These soldiers then formed Frederick William’s Dragoon Regiment and ever since these Chinese vases have been called Dragonervasen.
The newly displayed collection will provide a balanced presentation of exhibits from the museum’s collections of Eighteenth Century Meissen porcelain and Oriental porcelain. The exhibition will also provide an insight into the history of the development of porcelain, from early Chinese ceramics to the porcelains of the Ming and Kangxi dynasties, from Japanese Imari and Kakiemon porcelain to Böttger stoneware, and will include Böttger porcelain from the early Meissen period and figurines, life-size animal sculptures, dining services and masterpieces of porcelain decoration from the heyday of Meissen in the Eighteenth Century.
The wall displays are modeled on Augustus’s original ideas for presenting porcelain at his projected porcelain palace – the Japanisches Palais – and convey an insight into his collecting activities. Some rdf_Descriptions of particularly high quality will be displayed in special showcases, enabling visitors to take a closer look at the individual exhibits.
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