11.01.2017 14:12

Porcelain - the "white gold"

The "White Gold" was invented in China - and already Marco Polo brought first reports of a particularly noble, white material to Italy. But it was not until 1708 that Johann Friedrich Böttger and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus succeeded in producing the first European porcelain: in the city of Meißen near Dresden. Two years later a porcelain factory, which was known world-wide, arised on the Albrechtsburg.

As "August the Strong" he shaped the Saxon history like perhaps no second: Prince Friedrich August I of Saxony (1670-1733) staged not only as an absolutist radiant ruler. He pursued his goals very consistently, and his benchmark was always perfection. This was demonstrated by the systematic administrative structure and the deftly economic policy, as well as Augusts promotion of art, architecture, craftsmanship and science. This distinctive passion could arise because as a second-born he was originally not intended for the throne. For this reason, the young Saxon prince was at first astonished at the world of the nobility. On his „Kavalierstour“ between the ages of 17 and 19 he traveled incognitively as count of Meissen through all of Europe and learned to know and love the life at all the important courtyards. When his older brother died, Frederick Augustus, at 24, unexpectedly entered the Elector's office.

August the Strong set widely visible signs: he transformed the Renaissance town of Dresden into an imposing baroque stronghold for art and culture. He gave the order to build the “Frauenkirche” and Japanese Palais as well as to expand the “Zwinger”. The country fell in love with theater and music. During this time also the hard porcelain was invented and the state manufactory was founded in Meißen. August the Strong celebrated legendary, elaborate festivals, which sometimes lasted for several months.

August was an enthusiastic and sometimes exuberant art lover and collector. The famous work "Hofstaat zu Delhi on the birthday of the Grandmogul Aureng-Zeb" of the goldsmith and court jeweler Johann Melchior Dinglinger was so expensive with 60,000 thalers that it corresponds to the present value of 1.2 million euros. August the Strong could not pay the sum immediately - but had to pay it for five years. But August did not collect art for his own: In 1724 he made the Green Vault publicly accessible to the residents and visitors of the city.

The art chamber, founded by Elector August 1560, was now full of pieces. Moreover, in this collection, the diversity and disorder which had previously been found interesting did no longer satisfy the new scientific requirements. Thus, August the Strong first let sort out the paintings and 1728 on the upper floor of the Dresden Zwinger he rerserved Pavilion rooms for a special "Mathematical Instrument Cabinet". In addition to earth and heaven globes, astronomical andgeodetic instruments, barometers, thermometers and detailed ornate instruments for calculating, drawing and measurements of all kinds, sundials from the beginning belonged to the showpieces of the "Cabinet".

But the world-famous collection is much older. For the first time, the stock was inventoried for Christian I in 1587: thousands of individual objects, including watches, were part of the inventory at this time. It must have been the Elector August, who from the very beginning had endeavored to find artful ornate objects, even used the objects and partly kept them in his private houses. He was probably also the one who commissioned Eberhard Baldewein in 1560 to produce a "Baldewein clock", now named after the builder. More than two centuries later, around 1800, the inventory of the "Cabinet" was once again listed: 1800 objects, including 35 mechanical clocks.

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