Kaiserzimmer im Bergpalais von Schloss Pillnitz, 25.08.2020
© SKD, Foto: Klemens Renner

Design around 1800

Re-opening of the Kaiserzimmer in the Bergpalais at Pillnitz Palace

The Kaiserzimmer (imperial rooms) in Pillnitz Palace, still known to many as the Weinlig-Rooms, were reopened to the public in 2020 after several years of restoration. Now, the new permanent exhibition "Design around 1800" is on display in the rooms steeped in history, showcasing outstanding arts and crafts pieces from the classicism period.

Opening Hours



  • Admission Fees normal 12 €, reduced 10 €, under 17 free, groups (10 persons and more) 10 €

Bild 1

© SKD, Foto: Klemens Renner
Kaiserzimmer im Bergpalais von Schloss Pillnitz, 25.08.2020

Text 1 Zeit um 1800

The time around 1800 was one of enormous dynamism: social, scientific, technological – the signs pointed everywhere to change, a new dawn, progress. Paradoxically, in the decorative arts the path to the future of design led back to classical antiquity. The excavations in Herculaneum and Pompeii from the middle of the 18th century and the beginning of intensive research triggered a new enthusiasm for antiquities. A decisive impulse for this came from Dresden. Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) shaped the ideas of German classicism with his writings like no other. After the organically growing, wildly bizarre play of forms of the Rococo, ancient art offered new starting points, not only because of its clear structure and the ornamental and decorative world that was completely contrary to the Rococo. According to Winckelmann, Greek art had reached an aesthetic perfection that now had to be imitated.

[Translate to English:] Impressionen

Text Interieur

 The permanent exhibition "Design around 1800" makes this spirit of classicism tangible on two levels. On the one hand, the lavishly restored imperial rooms, together with the preserved original interior, are themselves a splendid example of classicist interior design. The window and door crowns alone, finely proportioned in individual fields, illustrate the wealth of antique formal language: rams' heads and sphinxes from ancient Egypt, scenes from Greek and Roman mythology, and ornaments such as urns, mascarons, palmettes, lotus blossoms, and acanthus foliage used in a quotation-like manner speak a clear picture.

Slider Objekte

Text Objekte

The exhibition uses this early classicist interior, which is so important for Saxon art history, to illuminate various facets of applied art around 1800 on a second level. Here, the Kunstgewerbemuseum presents outstanding pieces of Classicist design from its own collection, including ceramics, textiles, glass and metalwork, furniture, paper wallpaper and clocks. Special attention is paid to the Saxon developments, the players acting in the environment of the Dresden court and the local craftsmanship of the time. For this purpose, the exhibits of the Kunstgewerbemuseum are additionally supplemented by loans from the Porcelain Collection, the Green Vault, the Numismatic Collection and the Sculpture Collection.

Text + Bild Ornament

After the 1st quarter of the 19th century, ancient art lost its primacy as a model. However, it never fell into oblivion again. In the stylistic melting pot of historicism, numerous classicist elements can be found, impressively seen, for example, in the works of the late Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) and Gottfried Semper (1803-1879). Certain forms and ornaments also have a firm place in design, architecture and arts and crafts right up to the present day. In the exhibition, a separate room is dedicated to this classicist afterlife.

© SKD, Foto: Klemens Renner
Kaiserzimmer im Bergpalais von Schloss Pillnitz, 25.08.2020


The archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (1747-1792) was the name sponsor. On the occasion of the meeting with the Prussian King Frederick William II (1744-1797) in August 1791, the emperor took up residence in Pillnitz for a few days. The talks were later to go down in history as the Pillnitz Monarchs' Meeting. As honored host for this event of European magnitude, the Saxon Elector Friedrich August III (1750-1827) had the wing buildings of the Bergpalais, which had been completed only a few months earlier, splendidly decorated. Just two years later, the palace inventory referred to the rooms in the west wing as "kayserliche Zimmer".

© Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Hans-Peter Klut
[Translate to English:] Johann Heinrich Schmidt, Die Monarchenzusammenkunft in Pillnitz am 25. August 1791 (Detail)

Text einziges Beispiel

The Imperial Rooms with their original wall paneling and carvings, mirrors, stove and fireplace are the only example of Early Classicist interior decoration around the Dresden court that has been preserved largely in its original state. During the extensive restoration of the rooms, the wall coverings in the two main rooms were also reconstructed with silk atlas fabric in the original color scheme, making the original design concept much more tangible again.

Text Name + SIB

So far, there is no archival evidence of who designed the rooms. The attribution to and corresponding naming of the architect Christian Traugott Weinlig, which was valid for a long time due to stylistic analogies, is no longer supported by today's research. Also in view of the approximation to the state of 1791 achieved during the restoration by the Sächsisches Immobilien- und Baumanagement (SIB), the name "Kaiserzimmer", which was valid for a good 180 years, is now used again.



As the only object without a historical room reference, but with an all the stronger stylistic reference to Weinlig's decorations, a new acquisition will be presented this fall, which the Kunstgewerbemuseum was able to realize with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation: an early classicist chandelier in the shape of an egg. The chandelier is documented as a product of the Chursächsische Spiegelfabrik by a detailed review with accompanying pictorial plate in the March 1800 issue of the Journal des Luxus und der Moden. The piece is of outstanding quality, both in terms of design and technology. Its unconventional basket or egg shape is also a great unusual feature for the period of early classicism. The interplay of the gilded bronze frame with the richly varied Bohemian glass hanging is superb and testifies to the high level of Saxon craftsmanship of the time. In particular, the Chursächsische Spiegelfabrik was one of the leading Central European manufacturers of brass-mounted glassware and candlesticks around 1800.




weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions
30/04/2022 —31/10/2022

Das Forschungs- und Restaurierungsprojekt „Jean-Pierre Latz. Fait à Paris“

in Schloss Pillnitz

Pendule auf hohem Piedestal


in Schloss Pillnitz

gelber Kasten mit vier Füßen
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