Blick in den neugestalteten Böttgersaal der Porzellansammlung im Zwinger
© SKD, Foto: Oliver Killig
Please note that the Böttger Room of the Porzellansammlung is currently closed for technical reasons.

Redesign of the Böttger Room

The light-flooded pavilion on the level of the Zwinger corridor, dedicated to the famous porcelain inventor Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682—1719), can be considered the heart of the Dresden Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection). It is dedicated to the earliest products of the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, which were a real sensation more than 300 years ago. Saxony had succeeded in doing what had been attempted in vain throughout Europe for 250 years: to reveal the secret behind the recipe for Chinese red porcelain stoneware and — above all — East Asian porcelain.

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[Translate to English:] Als August der Starke

When Augustus the Strong held the first gleaming white vases and dishes with the finest flower arrangements and relief decorations in his hands, he knew that he now possessed a unique trump card that was the envy of all other princes. Porcelain was therefore to shine particularly brightly at the Dresden court. Now the world's most beautiful and important collection of early works by the Meissen manufactory is shining in a new light in a contemporary museum presentation. The accent lighting in the showcases now allows the finest details of the cut, faceted, relief-decorated, silver-framed or black-glazed surfaces to be observed.

© Porzellansammlung, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Adrian Sauer
Covered vase with female mascarons

[Translate to English:] In der Frühzeit

In the early days of the Meissen manufactory, in which considerable technological hurdles had to be overcome, the Far Eastern originals in the royal collection remained the most important yardstick, constant stimulus and inexhaustible source of inspiration. The first showcase is therefore dedicated to the East Asian model. However, Böttger recognized the special potential of his inventions in being able to shape the materials previously imported from the other side of the world according to European maxims. The oscillation between East and West and the ingenuity in the design of the earliest Meissen products can be vividly traced. 

© Porzellansammlung, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Adrian Sauer
Chinese bed with figure and Meissen imitation

[Translate to English:] Eine Reihe

In targeted juxtapositions, the new presentation encourages comparative viewing - when, for example, a parade of six similar jugs demonstrates the variety of finishing forms of Böttger stoneware. A series of large vases that sank or burst open in the fire still show the forces they were exposed to in the fire, which were difficult to control. Despite their deformations and cracks, they entered the royal collection - as technological masterpieces and small marvels.

[Translate to English:] Trickfilme des Leipziger Künstler

Animated films by the Leipzig artist Jens Rosemann tell an entertaining story of the legendary reinvention of porcelain in Saxony and the enormous hurdles that the Meissen manufactory had to overcome in the beginning (tip: turn on the sound when watching the films!)

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Johann Friedrich Böttger │The invention of porcelain
Johann Friedrich Böttger │The invention of porcelain

[Translate to English:] slider filme

[Translate to English:] Der Böttgersaal

The Böttger Hall conveys an idea of the visionary spirit of adventure, self-sacrificing daring and sheer inexhaustible ingenuity that led to the groundbreaking Saxon inventions that soon became the talk of Europe.

[Translate to English:] Slider

Edmund de Waal's installation „im Goldhaus“ (in the Gold House)

In the 300th anniversary of Johann Friedrich Böttger's death, the ceramic artist and author Edmund de Waal has intensively studied the origins of the Porzellansammlung and the early years of the Meissen Manufactory. In memory of the so-called "Goldhaus am Zwinger", the work "im Goldhaus" was created, an examination of the reinvention of porcelain at its place of origin. Here Böttger experimented with various materials together with the scientist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (1651-1708) before the production of porcelain finally succeeded at the beginning of the 18th century at the Albrechtsburg in Meissen.

© Edmund de Waal, Foto: Mike Bruce
Edmund de Waal, im Goldhaus, 2019

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