Exhibition | Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on May 10, 2019

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Begun in 1721, Hubertusburg Palace—named for the patron saint of hunting—was the site of the signing of the 1763 Treaty of Hubertusburg that ended the Seven Years’ War. From the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden:

Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha: The Wedding of the Century and Saxony’s Lost Rococo
Es war die Hochzeit des Jahrhunderts – Das verlorene sächsische Rokoko

Schloss Hubertusburg, Wermsdorf, 28 April — 6 October 2019

Outstanding rococo art and a glittering wedding of the century: two special exhibitions at Schloss Hubertusburg, one of Europe’s largest hunting palaces, invite you on a journey through time. When Elector Frederick Augustus (Friedrich August), the son of Augustus the Strong, married the emperor’s daughter Maria Josepha in Dresden in September 1719, the people of Europe were treated to the sight of operas, parades, masquerades, and all the other trappings of a late baroque festival.

In the first part of this exhibition, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden invite visitors to rediscover the royal couple’s court and Saxony’s Lost Rococo. The exhibition rooms in the palace’s old piano nobile hold over 100 high-profile works of art and precious examples of Saxon rococo that transport visitors back in time to the everyday courtly life of this royal couple who left a deep mark on the style of their times with their passion for music, art, and culture.

In the second part of the exhibition, which addresses the couple’s wedding, Schlösserland Sachsen breathes new life into now unadorned rooms of the palace which have been opened to the public for the first time. Video installations and a rotating 360° video screen return sections of the building to their former glory, allowing visitors to see them as they were once imagined and designed by Maria Josepha and Frederick Augustus II and invites guests to join in the grandiose celebrations at The Wedding of the Century.

A New Royal Couple for Saxony and Poland
The wedding of Frederick Augustus II and Maria Josepha was a one-month spectacle of late baroque festivities. With operas, parades and masquerades, the young royals knew how to put on an impressive show and establish Saxony and Poland’s joint position among the other European powers.

Louis de Silvestre and workshop, Elector Frederick Augustus, ca. 1730 (Rüstkammer/Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, photo by Elke Estel and Hans Peter Klut).

Courtly Culture and Splendour
The reign of Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha was marked by their great passion for culture, art and music. Thanks to their patronage and collecting, the Kingdom of Saxony and Poland developed into a thriving cultural landscape.

Operas and Music at the Court
Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha transformed the Saxon court into a European centre for music, and especially operas. Soon, everyone was talking about the performances at Schloss Hubertusburg, with their high-profile casts and elaborate costumes.

A Passion for Collecting and Hunting
Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha shared a keen enthusiasm for hunting, a courtly pleasure combining sociable entertainment and princely splendour. The extensive royal collection of hunting weapons—hunting knives, rifles, and pistols—includes some masterpieces of rococo art.

Rococo Palace and Hunting Lodge
Augustus the Strong—Frederick Augustus’s father—commissioned the building of Schloss Hubertusburg for the young royal couple in 1721. The building complex, with its magnificent grounds, is one of the largest hunting palaces in Europe.

Family and Dynasty
Masterpieces of portraiture depict the great family of Frederick Augustus II and Maria Josepha. The princes and princesses established important diplomatic networks by marrying strategically within Europe.


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