The authors of this architectural masterpiece are architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and sculptor Balthasar Permoser.
The ensemble of the Zwinger Palace consists of three galleries – a gross pavilion, a bell pavilion and a gallery with Crown Gates, interconnected by four corner pavilions and symmetrical park lawns and fountains in the center of the courtyard. From the north, the composition is closed by the Semper Gallery.
Strict lines of galleries complement the richly decorated pavilions and arches. There are sculptures everywhere, floral ornaments replaced by decorative niches, intertwined images of animals and fantastic images.
Zwinger Palace is considered a masterpiece of European Baroque architecture. Today there are three museums.
The space where the Zwinger Palace later arose originally constituted a free space between the old and new city walls of Dresden. The first steps in the breakdown of the Zwinger Park were taken by the Elector Morf in 1549. He ordered a blank space to be modeled after the Prague Palace Park. Elector Moritz, together with his wife Anna, are considered the founders of Saxon garden art.
The main part of the palace buildings and the final design of the park dates back to the reign of Elector Frederick Augustus I, or Augustus the Strong (August der Starke). By the beginning of his reign, the end of the XVII century, most of the Dresden buildings were wooden. Traveling a lot in Europe, Augustus Strong set out to rebuild his main city so that Dresden could be on a par with the leading royal courts of Italy and France.
The construction of the new palace began in 1715. Although the work was not yet fully completed, by the wedding of the son of Frederick Augustus II with Maria Josephine of Austria in 1719, Augustus the Strong wished to arrange a celebration in the new palace. The missing parts were hidden behind the scenery, and the premiere of the new Zwinger Palace took place.
Work continued for another nine years. The first gallery was rebuilt, which was used as a greenhouse. Then the structures of the southern and eastern outbuildings arose. The north side remained undeveloped. Here, as a decoration, the Green Pavilion appeared.
To fill the inner court space, Frederick Augustus I decided to set up a rectangular park, measuring 204 by 116 meters, filling it with lawns and flower beds with exotic plants and orange trees.
One of the main decorations of the Zwinger palace ensemble is its fountains. In addition to fountains in the park area, behind the French pavilion there is a multi-meter fountain “Bathing Nymphs” (Nymphenbad), consisting of numerous grottoes, sculptural compositions and stone ornaments.
At the entrance to the palace ensemble, a huge crown crowning the gate immediately catches your eye. They are called Crown Gates. August II the Strong was not only the elector of Saxony, but also the king of Poland. And although King Augustus spent only seven years, this fact should have been emphasized by the gates. The gate architecture is very unusual, in addition to the most gilded crown, they are decorated with eagles and floral ornaments.
Opposite is the Bell Pavilion, which is famous for its unusual porcelain watches and porcelain bells. The bells were originally gilded, but during the Second World War they were lost. Subsequently, both the clock and the bells were restored, and today every fifteen minutes forty bells make melodies. Depending on the season, the melodies change.
In 1728, the construction of the three sides of the palace was finally completed.
In the 19th century, architect Gottfried Semper designed the Opera House in the square behind the palace and the gallery on the fourth side of Zwinger. The gallery is named after Semper. Today it houses the famous Dresden Picture Gallery. The palace complex received its logical conclusion.
Plan of the Zwinger Palace
During World War II, the Zwinger Palace was completely destroyed. Restoration work continued until 1960.
Zwinger Palace was not used for its intended purpose. The royal people did not live here. Almost immediately after construction, collections of arts and equipment were placed here.
Physics and Mathematics Salon
The Physics and Mathematics Salon has been opened in Zwinger since 1728. Initially, the exhibits of the Physics and Mathematics Salon were part of the Armory, then were displayed in an independent museum. The beginning of the collection was laid by August Saxon in the 16th century.
The meeting of the Physics and Mathematics Salon gives an idea of how humanity’s ability to measure such parameters of the surrounding world as length, temperature, weight, distance and volume has developed. But not only that. The works presented in the museum are works of fine blacksmith art.