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It reminded me of the importance of places and people, of politics and power; of material objects, beauty and of memories; of scholarship and discovery; of innovation, challenge and sharing to bring the past into the future.“ 
                                   Charles Pugh, National Trust, UK

During this intensive seven-day course the participants explore the city of Dresden, its great monuments and its museums. The main theme is the study of the collections in a context that considers the princely attitudes of the Saxon rulers during the late Renaissance, the magnificent royal patronage of the arts and flourishing of courtly display especially in the 18th-century Augustan Age, and the role of the monarchy in 19th-century bourgeois society.

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These collections are presented in the beautiful royal palaces in and around Dresden where their meaning and importance can be studied in the original surroundings. With their modern and often highly innovative exhibitions and the diversity of the themes explored in them, the museums and their collections are essential features of the vibrant cultural life and lively discourse that characterise the city of Dresden today.

The programme for 2014 includes visits to the world-famous Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), founded by King August II, “The Strong”, in 1723 and filled with the exceptional treasures collected by himself and his ancestors. 

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In the Rüstkammer (Armoury) one focus will be on the Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber), one of the oldest and most important collections of Ottoman art. The newly opened presentation of tournament and ceremonial weapons and accoutrements in the immense and imposing Riesensaal (Giants’ Hall) in the Residenzschloss will also be visited and discussed. In the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Gallery), the Academy will study the role of the great collector King August III who founded the Gallery and enriched it with top-quality paintings. Works by the great painters of the 19th century, such as Caspar David Friedrich, will be studied in the Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery). Experts of the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Cabinet of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), will show a special selection of important drawings and prints from its collections and discuss them with the participants.

Housed in the richly decorated pavilions of the magnificent Zwinger is the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection), enabling the Academy to study outstanding and exquisite items of Asian and Meissen porcelain. The new permanent exhibition of the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments) in the Zwinger will also be visited and discussed. The scientific significance of this museum derives not only from its role as a collection of Renaissance astronomical and geodetic instruments but also from its function as a laboratory and observatory during the 18th century.

In the Albertinum, the Skulpturensammlung (Sculpture Collection) shows masterpieces of modern sculpture. The Study Collection, where the important collections of antiquities from the Mediterranean region are held, will also be discussed. 

A day will be devoted to visiting Schloss Pillnitz with its park and gardens, once the beautiful summer palace of August the Strong and his successors. Here, in the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the high quality of the decorative arts in Dresden and their innovative role in the early 20th century, will be studied.

In addition to this programme, the participants will visit a number of important buildings in the historic centre of Dresden, such as the Frauenkirche, Hofkirche, Zwinger, and Japanisches Palais. There will be excursions to interesting places in the region around Dresden, such as Schloss Moritzburg, Hellerau and Saxon Switzerland, whose beautiful and unique landscape inspired Caspar David Friedrich.

The participants will be offered a special viewing of the grand restoration project of the Residenzschloss in Dresden, with a tour through the work-in-progress.