1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dresden
DRESDEN, a city of Germany, capital of the kingdom of Saxony, 71 m. E.S.E. from Leipzig and 111 m. S. from Berlin by railway. It lies at an altitude of 402 ft. above the Baltic, in a broad and pleasant valley on both banks of the Elbe. The prospect of the city with its cupolas, towers, spires and the copper green roofs of its palaces, as seen from the distance, is one of striking beauty. On the left bank of the river are the Altstadt (old town) with four old suburbs and numerous new suburbs, and the Friedrichstadt (separated from the Altstadt by a long railway viaduct); on the right, the Neustadt (new town), Antonstadt, and the modern military suburb Alberstadt. Five fine bridges connect the Altstadt and Neustadt. The beautiful central bridge—the Alte or Augustusbrücke—with 16 arches, built in 1727–1731, and 1420 ft. long, has been demolished (1906) and replaced by a wider structure. Up-stream are the two modern Albert and Königin Carola bridges, and, down-stream, the Marien and the Eisenbahn (railway) bridges. The streets of the Alstadt are mostly narrow and somewhat gloomy, those of the Neustadt more spacious and regular.
On account of its delightful situation and the many objects of interest it contains, Dresden is often called “German Florence,” a name first applied to it by the poet Herder. The richness of its art treasures, the educational advantages it offers, and its attractive surroundings render it a favourite resort of people with private means. There are a large number of foreign residents, notably Austro-Hungarians and Russians, and also a considerable colony of English and Americans, the latter amounting to about 1500. The population of the city on the 1st of December 1905 was 516,996, of whom 358,776 lived on the left bank (Altstadt) and 158,220 on the right (Neustadt). The royal house belongs to the Roman Catholic confession, but the bulk of the inhabitants are Lutheran Protestants.
Dresden is the residence of the king, the seat of government for the kingdom of Saxony, and the headquarters of the XII. (Saxon) Army Corps. Within two decades (1880–1900) the capital almost at a single bound advanced into the front rank of German commercial and industrial towns; but while gaining in prosperity it has lost much of its medieval aspect. Old buildings in the heart of the Altstadt have been swept away, and their place occupied by modern business houses and new streets. Among the public squares in the Altstadt must be mentioned the magnificent Theaterplatz, with a fine equestrian statue of King John, by Schilling; the Altmarkt, with a monument commemorative of the war of 1870–71; the Neumarkt, with a bronze statue of King Frederick Augustus II., by E. J. Hähnel; the Postplatz, adorned by a Gothic fountain, by Semper; and the Bismarckplatz in the Anglo-American quarter. In the Neustadt are the market square, with a bronze equestrian statue of Augustus the Strong; the Kaiser Wilhelmplatz; and the Albertplatz. The continuous Schloss-, See- and Prager-Strasse, and the Wilsdruffer- and König Johann-Strasse are the main streets in the Altstadt, and the Hauptstrasse in the Neustadt.
The most imposing churches include the Roman Catholic Hofkirche, built (1739–1751) by C. Chiaveri, in rococo style, with a tower 300 ft. high. It contains a fine organ by Silbermann and pictures by Raphael Mengs and other artists, the outside being adorned with 59 statues by Mattielli. On the Neumarkt is the Frauenkirche, with a stone cupola rising to the height of 311 ft.; close to the Altmarkt, the Kreuzkirche, rebuilt after destruction by fire in 1897, also with a lofty tower surmounted by a cupola; and near the Postplatz the Sophienkirche, with twin spires. In the Neustadt is the Dreikönigskirche (dating from the 18th century) with a high pinnacled tower. Among more modern churches may be mentioned: in the Altstadt, the Johanneskirche, with a richly decorated interior; the Lukaskirche; and the Trinitatiskirche; and in the Neustadt, the Martin Luther-Kirche and the new garrison church. Apart from the chapels in the royal palaces, Dresden contains in all 32 churches, viz. 21 Evangelical, 6 Roman Catholic, a Reformed, a Russian, an English (erected by Gilbert Scott) with a graceful spire, a Scottish (Presbyterian), and an American (Episcopal) church, the last a handsome building, with a pretty parsonage attached.
Of secular buildings, the most noteworthy are grouped in the Altstadt near the river. The royal palace, built in 1530–1535 by Duke George (and thus called Georgenschloss), was thoroughly restored, and in some measure rebuilt between 1890 and 1902, in German Renaissance style, and is now an exceedingly handsome structure. The Georgentor has been widened, and through it, and beneath the royal apartments, vehicular traffic from the centre of the town is directed to the Augustusbrücke. The whole is surmounted by a lofty tower—387 ft.—the highest in Dresden. The interior is splendidly decorated. In the palace chapel are pictures by Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, Guido Reni and Annibale Caracci. The adjoining Prinzen-Palais on the Taschenberg, built in 1715, has a fine chapel, in which are various works of S. Torelli; it has also a library of 20,000 volumes. The Zwinger, begun in 1711, and built in the rococo style, forms an enclosure, within which is a statue of King Frederick Augustus I. It was intended to be the vestibule to a palace, but now contains a number of collections of great value. Until 1846 it was open at the north side; but this space has since been occupied by the museum, a beautiful Renaissance building, the exterior of which is adorned by statues of Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Dante, Goethe and other artists and poets by Rietschel and Hähnel, and it contains the famous picture gallery. The Brühl palace, built in 1737 by Count Brühl, the minister of Augustus II., has been in some measure demolished to make room for the new Ständehaus (diet house), with its main façade facing the Hofkirche; before the main entrance there is an equestrian statue (1906) of King Albert. Close by is the Brühl Terrace, approached by a fine flight of steps, on which are groups, by Schilling, representing Morning, Evening, Day and Night. The terrace commands a view of the Elbe and the distant heights of Loschwitz and the Weisser Hirsch, but the prospect has of late years become somewhat marred, owing to the extension of the town up the river and to the two new up-stream bridges. The Japanese palace in the Neustadt, built in 1715 as a summer residence for Augustus II., receives its name from certain oriental figures with which it is decorated; it is sometimes called the Augusteum and contains the royal library. Among other buildings of note is the Hoftheatre, a magnificent edifice in the Renaissance style, built after the designs of Semper, to replace the theatre burnt in 1869, and completed in 1878. A new town hall of huge dimensions, also in German Renaissance, with an octagon tower 400 ft. in height, stands on the former southern ramparts of the inner town, close to the Kreuzkirche. In the Altstadt the most striking of the newer edifices is the Kunstakademie, constructed from designs by K. Lipsius in the Italian Renaissance style, 1890–1894. The Albertinum, formerly the arsenal, built in 1559–1563, was rebuilt 1884–1889, and fitted up as a museum of oriental and classical antiquities, and as the depository of the state archives. On the right bank of the Elbe in Neustadt stand the fine buildings of the ministries of war, of finance, justice, the interior and education. The public monuments of Dresden also include the Moritz Monument, a relief dedicated by the elector Augustus to his brother Maurice, a statue of Weber the composer by Rietschel, a bronze statue of Theodor Körner by Hähnel, the Rietschel monument on the Brühl Terrace by Schilling, a bust of Gutzkow, and a statue of Bismarck on the promenade. In the suburbs which encircle the old town are to be noted the vast central Hauptbahnhof (1893–1898) occupying the site of the old Böhmischer railway station, the new premises of the municipal hospital and the Ausstellungs-Halle (exhibition buildings).
The chief pleasure-ground of Dresden is the Grosser Garten, in which there are a summer theatre, the Reitschel museum, and a château containing a museum of antiquities. The latter is composed chiefly of objects removed from the churches in consequence of the Reformation. Near the château is the zoological garden, formed in 1860, and excellently arranged. A little to the south of Dresden, on the left bank of the Elbe, is the village Räcknitz, in which is Moreau’s monument, erected on the spot where he was mortally wounded in 1813. The mountains of Saxon Switzerland are seen from this neighbourhood.
Art.—Dresden owes a large part of its fame to its extensive artistic, literary and scientific collections. Of these the most valuable is its splendid picture gallery, founded by Augustus I. and increased by his successors at great cost. It is in the museum, and contains about 2500 pictures, being especially rich in specimens of the Italian, Dutch and Flemish schools. The gem of the collection is Raphael’s “Madonna di San Sisto,” for which a room is set apart. There is also a special room for the “Madonna” of the younger Holbein. Other paintings with which the name of the gallery is generally associated are Correggio’s “La Notte” and “Mary Magdalene”; Titian’s “Tribute Money” and “Venus”; “The Adoration” and “The Marriage in Cana,” by Paul Veronese; Andrea del Sarto’s “Abraham’s Sacrifice”; Rembrandt’s “Portrait of Himself with his Wife sitting on his Knee”; “The Judgment of Paris” and “The Boar Hunt,” by Rubens; Van Dyck’s “Charles I., his Queen, and their Children.”
Of modern painters, this magnificent collection contains masterpieces by Defregger, Vautier, Makart, Munkacsy, Fritz von Uhde, Böcklin, Hans Thoma; portraits by Leon Pohle, Delaroche and Sargent; landscapes by Andreas and Oswald Achenbach and allegorical works by Sascha Schneider. In separate compartments there are a number of crayon portraits, most of them by Rosalba Carriera, and views of Dresden by Canaletto and other artists. Besides the picture gallery the museum includes a magnificent collection of engravings and drawings. There are upwards of 400,000 specimens, arranged in twelve classes, so as to mark the great epochs in the history of art. A collection of casts, likewise in the museum, is designed to display the progress of plastic art from the time of the Egyptians and Assyrians to modern ages. This collection was begun by Raphael Mengs, who secured casts of the most valuable antiques in Italy, some of which no longer exist.
The Japanese palace contains a public library of more than 400,000 volumes, with about 3000 MSS. and 20,000 maps. It is especially rich in the ancient classics, and in works bearing on literary history and the history of Germany, Poland and France. There are also a valuable cabinet of coins and a collection of ancient works of art. A collection of porcelain in the “Museum Johanneum” (which once contained the picture gallery) is made up of specimens of Chinese, Japanese, East Indian, Sèvres and Meissen manufacture, carefully arranged in chronological order. There is in the same building an excellent Historical Museum. In the Grüne Gewölbe (Green Vault) of the Royal Palace, so called from the character of its original decorations, there is an unequalled collection of precious stones, pearls and works of art in gold, silver, amber and ivory. The objects, which are about 3000 in number, are arranged in eight rooms. They include the regalia of Augustus II. as king of Poland; the electoral sword of Saxony; a group by Dinglinger, in gold and enamel, representing the court of the grand mogul Aurungzebe, and consisting of 132 figures upon a plate of silver 4 ft. 4 in. square; the largest onyx known, 62 in. by 21 in.; a pearl representing the dwarf of Charles II. of Spain; and a green brilliant weighing 40 carats. The royal palace also has a gallery of arms consisting of more than 2000 weapons of artistic or historical value. In the Zwinger are the zoological and mineralogical museums and a collection of instruments used in mathematical and physical science. Among other collections is that of the Körner museum with numerous reminiscences of the Goethe-Schiller epoch, and of the wars of liberation (1813–15), and containing valuable manuscripts and relics. Founded by Hofrath Dr Emil Peschel, it has passed into the possession of the city.
Education.—Dresden is the seat of a number of well-known scientific associations. The educational institutions are numerous and of a high order, including a technical high school (with about 1100 students), which enjoys the privilege of conferring the degrees of doctor of engineering, doctor of technical sciences, &c., a veterinary college, a political-economic institution (Gehestiftung), with library, a school of architects, a royal and four municipal gymnasia, numerous lower grade and popular schools, the royal conservatorium for music and drama, and a celebrated academy of painting. Dresden has several important hospitals, asylums and other charitable institutions.
Music and the Theatres.—Besides the two royal theatres, Dresden possesses several minor theatres and music halls. The pride of place in the world of music is held by the orchestra attached to the court theatre. Founded by Augustus II., it has become famous throughout the world, owing to the masters who have from time to time been associated with it—such as Paër, Weber, Reissiger and Wagner. Symphony and popular concerts are held throughout the year in various public halls, and, during the winter, concerts of church music are frequently given in the Protestant Kreuz- and Frauen-Kirchen, and on Sundays in the Roman Catholic church.
Communications and Industries.—Dresden lies at the centre of an extensive railway system, which places it in communication with the chief cities of northern and central Germany as well as with Austria and the East. Here cross the grand trunk lines Berlin-Vienna, Chemnitz-Görlitz-Breslau. It is connected by two lines of railway with Leipzig and by local lines with neighbouring smaller towns. The navigation on the Elbe has of recent years largely developed, and, in addition to trade by river with Bohemia and Magdeburg-Hamburg, there is a considerable pleasure-boat traffic during the summer months. The communications within the city are maintained by an excellent system of electric trams, which bring the more distant suburbs into easy connexion with the business centre. A considerable business is done on the exchange, chiefly in local industrial shares, and the financial institutions number some fifty banks, among them branches of the Reichs Bank and of the Deutsche Bank. Among the more notable industries may be mentioned the manufacture of china (see Ceramics), of gold and silver ornaments, cigarettes, chocolate, coloured postcards, perfumery, straw-plaiting, artificial flowers, agricultural machinery, paper, photographic and other scientific instruments. There are several great breweries; corn trade is carried on, and an extensive business is done in books and objects of art.
Surroundings.—The environs of the city are delightful. To the north are the vine-clad hills of the Lössnitz commanding views of the valley of the Elbe from Dresden to Meissen; behind them, on an island in a lake, is the castle of Moritzburg, the hunting box of the king of Saxony. On the right bank of the Elbe, 3 m. above the city, lies the village of Loschwitz, where Schiller, in the summer of 1786, wrote the greater part of his Don Carlos: above it on the fringe of the Dresdner Heide, the climatic health resort Weisser-Hirsch; farther up the river towards Pirna the royal summer palace Pillnitz; to the south the Plauensche Grund, and still farther the Rabenauer Grund.
History.—Dresden (Old Slav Drezga, forest, Drezgajan, forest-dwellers), which is known to have existed in 1206, is of Slavonic origin, and was originally founded on the right bank of the Elbe, on the site of the present Neustadt, which is thus actually the old town. It became the capital of Henry the Illustrious, margrave of Meissen, in 1270, but belonged for some time after his death, first to Wenceslaus of Bohemia, and next to the margrave of Brandenburg. Early in the 14th century it was restored to the margrave of Meissen. On the division of Saxony in 1485 it fell to the Albertine line, which has since held it. Having been burned almost to the ground in 1491, it was rebuilt; and in the 16th century the fortifications were begun and gradually extended. John George II., in the 17th century, formed the Grosser Garten, and otherwise greatly improved the town; but it was in the first half of the 18th century, under Augustus I. and Augustus II., who were kings of Poland as well as electors of Saxony, that Dresden assumed something like its present appearance. The Neustadt, which had been burned down in the 17th century, was founded anew by Augustus I.; he also founded Friedrichstadt. The town suffered severely during the Seven Years’ War, being bombarded in 1760. Some damage was also inflicted on it in 1813, when Napoleon made it the centre of his operations; one of the buttresses and two arches of the old bridge were then blown up. The dismantling of the fortifications had been begun by the French in 1810, and was gradually completed after 1817, the space occupied by them being appropriated to gardens and promenades. Many buildings were completed or founded by King Anthony, from whom Antonstadt derives its name. Dresden again suffered severely during the revolution of 1849, but all traces of the disturbances which then took place were soon effaced. In 1866 it was occupied by the Prussians, who did not finally evacuate it until the spring of the following year. Since that time numerous improvements have been carried out.
See Lindau, Geschichte der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Dresden (2 vols., Dresden, 1884–1885); Prölss, Geschichte des Hoftheaters in Dresden (Dresden, 1877); Schumann, Führer durch die königl. Sammlungen zu Dresden (1903); Woerl, Führer durch Dresden; Daniel, Deutschland (1894).
Battle of Dresden. The battle of Dresden, the last of the great victories of Napoleon, was fought on the 26th and 27th of August 1813. The intervention of Austria in the War of Liberation, and the consequent advance of the Allies under the Austrian field-marshal Prince Schwarzenberg from Prague upon Dresden, recalled Napoleon from Silesia, where he was engaged against the Prussians and Russians under Blücher. Only by a narrow margin of time, indeed, was he able to bring back sufficient troops for the first day’s battle. He detached a column under Vandamme to the mountains to interpose between Schwarzenberg and Prague (see Napoleonic Campaigns); the rest of the army pressed on by forced marches for Dresden, around which a position for the whole army had been chosen and fortified, though at the moment this was held by less than 20,000 men under Gouvion St Cyr, who retired thither from the mountains, leaving a garrison in Königstein, and had repeatedly sent reports to the emperor as to the allied masses gathering to the southward. The battle of the first day began late in the afternoon, for Schwarzenberg waited as long as possible for the corps of Klenau, which formed his extreme left wing on the Freiberg road. At last, about 6 p.m. he decided to wait no longer, and six heavy columns of attack advanced against the suburbs defended by St Cyr and now also by the leading troops of the main army. Three hundred guns covered the assault, and Dresden was set on fire in places by the cannonade, while the French columns marched unceasingly over the bridges and through the Altstadt. On the right the Russians under Wittgenstein advanced from Striesen, the Prussians under Kleist through the Grosser Garten, whilst Prussians under Prince Augustus and Austrians under Colloredo moved upon the Moczinski redoubt, which was the scene of the most desperate fighting, and was repeatedly taken and retaken. The attack to the westward was carried out by the other Austrian corps; Klenau, however, was still far distant. In the end, the French defences remained unshaken. Ney led a counter-attack against the Allies’ left, the Moczinski redoubt was definitely recaptured from Colloredo, and the Prussians were driven out of the Grosser Garten. The coup of the Allies had failed, for every hour saw the arrival of fresh forces on the side of Napoleon, and at length the Austrian leader drew off his men to the heights again. He was prepared to fight another battle on the morrow—indeed he could scarcely have avoided it had he wished to do so, for behind him lay the mountain defiles, towards which Vandamme was marching with all speed.
Napoleon’s plan for the 27th was, as usual, simple in its outline. As at Friedland, a ravine separated a part of the hostile line of battle from the rest. The villages west of the Plauen ravine and even Löbda were occupied in the early morning by General Metzko with the leading division of Klenau’s corps from Freiberg, and upon Metzko Napoleon intended first to throw the weight of his attack, giving to Victor’s infantry and the cavalry of Murat, king of Naples, the task of overwhelming the isolated Austrians. The centre, aided by the defences of the Dresden suburbs, could hold its own, as the events of the 26th had shown, the left, now under Ney, with whom served Kellermann’s cavalry and the Young Guard, was to attack Wittgenstein’s Russians on the Pirna road. Thus, for once, Napoleon decided to attack both flanks of the enemy. His motives in so doing have been much discussed by the critics; Vandamme’s movements, it may be suggested, contributed to the French emperor’s plan, which if carried out would open the Pirna road. Still, the left attack may have had a purely tactical object, for in that quarter was the main body of the Prussians and Russians, and Napoleon’s method was always to concentrate the fury of the attack on the heaviest masses of the enemy, i.e. the best target for his own artillery. A very heavy rainstorm during the night seriously affected the movements of troops on the following day, but all to Napoleon’s advantage, for his more mobile artillery, reinforced by every horse available in and about Dresden, was still able to move where the Allied guns sank in mud. Further, if the cavalry had to walk, or at most trot, through the fields the opposing infantry was almost always unable to fire their muskets. “You cannot fire; surrender,” said Murat to an Austrian battalion in the battle. “Never,” they replied; “you cannot charge us.” On the appearance of Murat’s horse artillery, however, they had to surrender at once. Under such conditions, Metzko, unsupported either by Klenau or the main army beyond the ravine, was an easy victim. Victor from Löbda drove in the advanced posts and assaulted the line of villages Wolfnitz-Töltschen; Metzko had to retire to the higher ground S.W. of the first line, and Murat, with an overwhelming cavalry force from Cotta and Burgstädl, outflanked his left, broke up whole battalions, and finally, with the assistance of the renewed frontal attack of Victor’s infantry, annihilated the division. The Austrian corps of Gyulai arrived too late to save it. A few formed bodies escaped across the ravine, but Metzko and three-fourths of his men were killed or taken prisoners.
Meanwhile Ney on the other flank, with his left on the Pillnitz road and his right on the Grosser Garten, had opened his attack. The Russians offered a strenuous resistance, defending Seidnitz, Gross Döbritz and Reick with their usual steadiness, and Ney was so far advanced that several generals at the Allied headquarters suggested a counter-attack of the centre by way of Strehlen, so as to cut off the French left from Dresden. This plan was adopted, but, owing to various misunderstandings, failed of execution. Thus the Allied centre remained inactive all day, cannonaded by the Dresden redoubts. One incident only, but that of great importance, took place here. The tsar, the king of Prussia, Schwarzenberg and a very large headquarter staff watched the fighting from a hill near Räcknitz and offered an easy mark to the French guns. In default of formed bodies to fire at, the latter had for a moment ceased fire; Napoleon, riding by, half carelessly told them to reopen, and one of their first shots, directed at 2000 yards range against the mass of officers on the sky-line, mortally wounded General Moreau, who was standing by the emperor Alexander. A council of war followed. The Allied sovereigns were for continuing the fight; Schwarzenberg, however, knowing the exhaustion of his troops decided to retreat. As at Bautzen, the French cavalry was unable to make any effective pursuit.
The forces engaged were 96,000 French, Saxons, &c., and 200,000 Austrians, Russians and Prussians. The French losses were about 10,000, or a little over 10%, those of the Allies 38,000 killed, wounded and prisoners (the latter 23,000) or 19%. They lost also 15 colours and 26 guns.