Dresden - "Florence of the Elbe" (1)
Dresden. Old Masters Picture Gallery (3)
When Augustus the Stong became the Elector and later the King of Poland, he started building beautiful palaces and transformed Dresden into a renowned baroque ensemble with one of the European finest art collections. His court architect Matthäus Pöppelmann developed the original plans, covering the space of the present complex of palace and garden, and the Zwinger was constructed in stages from 1710 to 1728. Almost all of his expenses were related to the acquisition of artwork, rather than with military expenses.
To make the city more beautiful Augustus II introduced a number of strict rules into the urban construction: ordinary residents were forbidden to decorate their houses the same way as the royal palaces because the magnificence of the architecture wouldn’t be so obvious.
The Zwinger, the baroque complex of pavilions and galleries, with a large courtyard, was used for tournaments, fireworks and court festivities. The king, known as a man of pleasure, used every excuse to throw parties: his luxuriant court balls were numerous and most lavish. His court had a fabulous reputation throughout Europe.
Originally the Zwinger had only three wings. After the completion of the beautiful Semper Opera House in 1841 Gottfried Semper added a gallery in Renaissance style. The wing is known as the Old Masters Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister), a museum with top-class works.