Rembrandt, Titian, Bellotto
The spirituality and splendour of the Dresden Gallery
An impressive exhibition of historical painting can now be seen in Eugene of Savoy’s former winter palace in Vienna. The Winterpalais, an affiliate of the Belvedere, is an outstanding location for displaying paintings of the Dresden Gallery. The exhibition includes works by outstanding 16th-18th-century European masters. Renovation of the Dresden Gallery, which started in 2013, provided the opportunity for the 73 works by a total of 100 masters to begin a European tour. After Munich and Groningen, the display reached Vienna in June. Included are historical paintings, landscapes, still lifes and portraits representing the wealth of the collection. The seven sections of the exhibition primarily highlight the 17th and 18th centuries, the period of Baroque splendour and the early Enlightenment. In the first half of the 18th century Dresden not only witnessed the beginning of famous art collections, it was also noted for its major building projects. During this period the city received its Baroque appearance. It was then that the old Elbe Bridge, the Zwinger, the Brühl’s Terrace ensemble, the Frauenkirche, Dresden Cathedral, and the Pillnitz and Moritzburg castles were constructed. There are portraits of the rulers who were passionate collectors, while Baroque Dresden is depicted in works by Johann Alexander Thiele and Bernardo Bellotto, court painters who produced an imposing series featuring Saxony’s sights. A personal visit to the exhibition is strongly recommended, since as Johann Joachim Winckelmann wrote in the mid 18th century in his history of the documentation of paintings in the Dresden Gallery, the beauty of these masterpieces “can only be appreciated with the eye, it cannot be described”.