Enfilade

Exhibition | The Lacquerwork of Gérard Dagly

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 16, 2016

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Idealized View of the Coin and Antiques Cabinet, Berliner Schloss, ca. 1695, Samuel Blesendorf, Thesaurus Brandenburgicus selectus, volume 1 (Berlin 1696).

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From the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (with thanks to Tobias Locker for noting it). . .

In Praise of Good Rule: The Lacquerwork of Gérard Dagly in the Berlin Palace
Lob der Guten Herrschaft: Die Lackkunst des Gérard Dagly im Berliner Schloss
Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), Köpenick Palace, Berlin, 8 July — 9 October 2016

Gérard Dagly (c. 1660–1715) was a master of Baroque lacquerwork. His most important work is the coin cabinet from the cabinet of antiquities of the Prussian royal art collection, now preserved in the Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum. The dramatic composition in gold on black lacquer on the cabinet’s decorative panels is unusual for Europe, and provides early evidence of a serious artistic interaction with East Asian models. In this piece Dagly unites East Asian and European visual traditions in a homage to Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg.

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Gérard Dagly, Medal Cabinet for the Cabinet of Antiquities of the Brandenburg-Preußischen Kunstkammer, 1690–95 (Berlin: Kunstgewerbemuseum; photo by Tomasz Samek).

As ‘Director of Ornaments’, Gerard Dagly was responsible for all the furnishings of the cabinet of antiquities in the Berlin Palace. These included an ensemble of four coin and medal cabinets and six tables, as well as the interior decorations of the room, including paintings and gilded sculptures. A monumental catalogue, the Thesaurus Brandenburgicus selectus compiled by Lorenz Berger, accompanied the presentation of the collection. All these elements served Baroque prestige, forming an accolade praising the Elector Frederick III, later King Frederick I as a preserver of antiquity, and using this connection to the past to legitimize his claim to power.

This exhibition presents the coin cabinet in its context, for which the Kopenick Palace, built for Frederick III, forms the ideal location. Historic images of the cabinet of antiquities accompany a rich display of the works of art they depict. These include ancient gold and silver coins, sculptures, and gems, an Egyptian death mask, Etruscan beaked jugs, as well as the Thesaurus Brandenburgicus, Chinese and Japanese porcelain and lacquerwork, and other examples of Dagly’s work, such as the lost Chinese cabinet from the Berlin Palace.

Lenders to the exhibition include: the Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landeszentrum, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Museum für Lackkunst Münster, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, as well as other collections within the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, specifically: the Ägyptisches Museum, Antikensammlung, Kunstbibliothek, Münzkabinett, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, and Skulpturensammlung.

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