Ten years ago, on 15 September 2006, the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe finally opened its doors again after years of restoration and refurbishment. The Historisches Grünes Gewölbe located on the ground floor of the former electoral and royal palace (Residenzschloss) in Dresden, along with the Neues Grünes Gewölbe on the floor above, which was opened in 2004, combine to form the Grünes Gewölbe.
To mark this anniversary, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden will be offering visitors special open evenings which include guided tours: The Grünes Gewölbe will be open every Friday evening from 6 to 8 pm in addition to the regular opening hours - and at a special reduced price. Whether booked in advance or in the web shop, tickets for visiting both sections of the Grünes Gewölbe will cost only €15 instead of the usual €21 or €23 and will also include a guided tour through the Neues Grünes Gewölbe.
The Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, August the Strong, had the Grünes Gewölbe installed between 1723 and 1729 with the aim of creating a museum that would enhance his prestige as a ruler, and he invited guests from around the world to visit it. During the Second World War the historic rooms housing the collection were severely damaged, but the works of art had previously been removed for safekeeping and were thereby preserved.
For the past ten years, the Grünes Gewölbe has been divided into two sections – a new feature as compared with the form of presentation prior to the museum’s closure ahead of the Second World War. The Neues Grünes Gewölbe directs the gaze of the viewer onto numerous outstanding objects presented in air-conditioned showcases with anti-glare glass, which were developed and manufactured specifically for the SKD. State-of-the-art lighting technology focuses attention on unique works of art, including such famous objects as the carved cherry stone, Dinglinger’s “Royal Household of the Grand Mogul Aureng-Zeb” and the 41-carat Green Diamond. It is an exhibition that is regarded internationally as setting exceptionally high standards.
The exhibition rooms on the ground floor comprise a baroque gesamtkunstwerk, a synthesis of the arts: after passing through the special double door system, designed to preserve the climatic conditions as well as ensuring security, and entering the historic rooms reopened ten years ago, visitors take a journey back through time into the 18th century. In keeping with the sumptuous architecture, around 3000 masterpieces of the jeweller’s and the goldsmith’s art, as well as precious objects made of amber or ivory, vessels made of coloured gemstones, elegant bronze statuettes, ornately decorated rock crystals, sea-snail shells and ostrich eggs are exhibited in front of mirrored display walls. A special highlight is the reconstructed Jewel Room on the side facing the courtyard, where the Saxon State Treasure is presented in artfully illuminated showcases.
This famous treasure chamber is a magnet for visitors, enjoying an unparalleled worldwide reputation. It is a landmark of Dresden and attracts not only many tourists but also prominent figures from the political, business, sport and cultural spheres. From its inception, the Grünes Gewölbe was also a venue for diplomacy –the highlights of the past few years include the meeting between Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe during the US President’s first visit to Germany.