From May to October each year, the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) provides extraordinary insights into the life of the electors of Saxony in a spectacular architectural setting. Schloss Pillnitz (Pillnitz Palace), a pleasure palace and the summer residence of the Saxon court, is only a few kilometers from the centre of Dresden, idyllically located between the River Elbe and hillside vineyards. Many sumptuous objects and rooms that are associated with the electors and kings of Saxony have been preserved here. There are, for example, gilt thrones, unique silver furniture, colorful lacquered furniture and other lavish furnishings commissioned by the rulers, as well as numerous outstanding items created in the court workshops, all of which testify to the sovereigns’ desire for luxury and elegance. Among the objects on display are beautifully painted and cut glasses from the court wine cellars, exclusive textiles such as damask fabric, embroidery and lace, as well as selected items from the royal collection of Italian majolica, Delftware and German stoneware.
Other highlights – ranging from a medieval antependium to 20th-century furniture – demonstrate the history of regional and international arts and crafts over a period of five centuries. In this journey through time showing the history of arts and crafts up to modern industrial design, numerous examples of Dresden Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and of the machine-made furniture produced by the “Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau” constitute particular highlights that point to Dresden’s role as a cradle of modern art and design. Examples of the work of contemporary designers include products by Piero Fornasetti, Shiro Kuramata, Ron Arad, Dale Chihuly and many others.
If you particularly wish to enjoy the atmosphere of the bygone age of Saxon electors and kings, you should visit the Gelbe Salon (Yellow Salon) with its magnificent chinoiserie-style decor, the dining-room in the style of Watteau or the series of cabinets in the Weinlig-Zimmer (Weinlig Room) – these were all used by the royal family during their summer sojourns at Schloss Pillnitz (Pillnitz Palace).
The Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) is part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) that are among the most prominent museums in the world. The combined holdings of the twelve museums offer the visitor a remarkable thematic diversity. These museums originated from the collections of the Saxon electors and Polish kings. They systematically developed cabinets of curiosities, which were accessible to select circles in their day and still form the core of the wonderful art treasures of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden today. The collections are situated in world famous buildings such as the Residenzschloss (Royal Palace), the Zwinger, and the Semperbau (Semper Building), which are among the most important sights in Dresden.