The Wonders of Craftsmanship
A. Lange & Söhne congratulates the Dresden State Art Collections on the 300th anniversary of the Green Vault. The world-famous treasury museum is home to a historical collection of unique artefacts, which in many ways also influenced the Saxon art of watchmaking.
2023 marks the start of a special anniversary: the Green Vault celebrates its 300th birthday. This occasion is being commemorated with various activities that will take place over six years, as long as it took to set up the collection, which was first established by the Elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong, in 1723. This also means that the “Secret Custody” - the tightly sealed electoral vault in the west wing of Dresden's Royal Palace - has been made progressively more accessible to the public. By September 1729, a treasury museum had been created, showcased in a setting that was state-of-the-art for its time - the first of its kind in Europe. Since 2006 and following extensive restoration work, the Wettin princes and kings’ unique collection has been made fully accessible to the public once again and showcases the precious objects in the impressive original rooms. In the same year, the partnership between A. Lange & Söhne and the Dresden State Art Collections, to which the Green Vault belongs, was formed.
The Grandeur of Princes
The Baroque masterpiece showcases over 4,000 jewellery and goldsmithing works of art from the Renaissance right through to the Classicism period, which are on display in the permanent exhibitions in the Historic Green Vault and the New Green Vault. A testament to the passion with which art enthusiasts curated the collection, the precious objects are exhibited in the original Baroque setting alongside elaborately decorated and mirrored display walls or positioned individually on centrepieces. The different rooms are organised and named according to the materials of the treasures on display: from the Amber Cabinet and the Ivory Room next door, through to the White Silver Room and the Silver Gilt Room. The highlights of the exhibition are the Hall of Precious Objects and the Jewellery Room with Augustus the Strong and his son's jewellery sets, a unique collection representative of 18th-century jewellery.
While the world-famous Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments in Zwinger Palace houses the majority of history’s scientific instruments, globes and clocks from the Electoral Royal collection, 40 spring-loaded objects and timepieces can also be admired in the Green Vault. One particularly impressive example is the “Tower of Babel” clock by the imperial clockmaker Hans Schlottheim from Augsburg. This extraordinary piece of mechanics and highly iconic work of art dating back to the early 17th century propels a rolling rock crystal ball through world history in just a single minute, allowing its numbers to come alive in a dance as music plays as if by magic.
Preserving Precious Objects for the Future
Prof. Dr. Marion Ackermann, General Director of the Dresden State Art Collections, recognises the Green Vault as an outstanding, world-class museum: “The courtly collection holds an unparalleled cultural and art-historical significance, standing as one of Europe's most opulent treasure troves. Today, much like in the past, the exhibits offer unique insights into the passion that the Saxon electors and kings had for collecting and therefore also demonstrate the cultural identity of Dresden and Saxony as a whole.”
“Our art of watchmaking is deeply rooted in Glashütte. But it shares its heritage with the nearby city of Dresden”, emphasises Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne. “The Saxon court made science, art, and culture flourish. Even today, we can still appreciate this in the Green Vault, for example, which Ferdinand Adolph Lange is very likely to have visited. We are delighted and honoured to participate in this anniversary celebration, extending our heartfelt congratulations. Preserving precious objects for the future – it was with this in mind that a treasure chamber was founded 300 years ago, which we know today as the Green Vault. Through our watchmaking expertise and as a partner of the Dresden State Art Collections, we are dedicated to ensuring that our cultural heritage endures.”