On our last visit to Europe, Chris and I were entranced by the city of Dresden, Germany, situated on a bend in the Elbe River near the border to Czechoslovakia. For centuries the city was the Saxony capital and the royal residence of the Saxon king. The castles and palaces of these kings together with the city's exquisite and monumental churches make the historic city center a treasure of Rococo and Baroque architecture.
For me, the most interesting architecture in Dresden was the beautiful Zwinger Palace, which served as orangery, exhibition gallery, and festival arena for the Dresden court. The palace complex, partially situated at the location of the 12th century city wall, is a series of rococo, baroque, and neoclassical buildings connected by galleries that enclose a green-space. It is especially pleasant to view the gardens from the raised walkway that runs above the galleries for the circumference of the palace.
Like much of the city center of Dresden, this palace was reduced to rubble after the catastrophic carpet bombing of the city by American and British forces during WWII. The massive rebuilding of the palace was begun by the Soviet government in 1945 and completed in 1963.
I was fascinated by this porcelain tile mosaic on the outer wall of the Dresden Castle. Called the Procession of Princes , or Fürstenzug, this 335 ft long artwork was originally created as a painting in 1871 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wettin Dynasty, who were Saxony's ruling family. The mural shows portraits of the 35 electors, dukes, and kings of the House of Wettin in a procession on horseback. Later, in 1904, the painting was replaced with porcelain tiles, making this the largest porcelain mosaic in the world.
Dresden has many beautiful churches. Two of the most famous are the Katholische Hofkirche (the Dresden Cathedral, on the left), and the Frauenkirche Dresden (the Lutheran Church of Our Lady, on the right). I was inspired by the scope, complexity, and thoughtfulness of the rebuilding efforts of these treasures.
When I travel I love seeing beautiful architecture, especially when tourists and natives are enjoying the urban landscape and bringing it to life. I'm always on the lookout for scenes of people biking, relaxing, and dining outdoors together because this is often the basis for my paintings. After reviewing these photos, I'm itching to get started on some new canvases!
I hope you enjoyed my mini-tour of Dresden, and that you are inspired to visit this beautiful, historic city.
I'm Linda Hugues and I paint cityscapes from my travels in Europe and my home in Florida. Here on my monthly blog I write about everything related to my art life, in and out of the studio. Enjoy!