Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Dresden

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DRESDEN (drez'den), the capital of Saxony, formerly a kingdom, but now a state in the German Republic; situated in a beautiful valley on both sides of the river Elbe. It is first mentioned in history in 1206, was greatly extended and embellished by Augustus the Strong (1694-1736), and rapidly increased during the 19th century. Among the chief edifices besides several of the churches are the museum containing a famous picture-gallery and other treasures; the Japanese Palace (Augusteum), containing the royal library of from 300,000 to 400,000 volumes, besides a rich collection of manuscripts; the Johanneum, containing the collection of porcelain and the historical museum, a valuable collection of arms, armor, domestic utensils, etc., belonging to the Middle Ages. The royal palace contains (in what is called the Green Vault) a valuable collection of curiosities, jewels, trinkets, and works of art.

The city is distinguished for its excellent educational, literary, and artistic institutions, among which are the Polytechnic School, much on the plan and scale of a university; the Conservatory and School of Music; the Academy of Fine Arts, etc. The manufactures are various in character; the china, however, for which the city is famed is made chiefly at Meissen, 14 miles distant. The commerce is considerable. The chief glory of Dresden is the gallery of pictures, one of the finest in the world, which first became of importance under Augustus II., King of Poland, and Elector of Saxony, but owes its most valuable treasures to Augustus III., who purchased the greater portion of the gallery of the Duke of Modena for $900,000. The pictures number about 25,000, and in particular comprise many fine specimens of the Italian, Dutch, and Flemish schools. Besides this fine collection the museum contains also engravings and drawings amounting to upward of 350,000. There is here also a rich collection of casts exemplifying the progress of sculpture from the earliest times, and including copies of all the most important antiques. It suffered severely in the Thirty Years' War, and also in 1813, when it was the headquarters of Napoleon's army. It was occupied by the Prussians in 1866, but was evacuated in the following spring. Pop. about 550,000.