For some people it is a visit of a life time. While I would like to say this was the same for me it is more the case that I find any museum’s collections awe inspiring. Museums have been for centuries the libraries for the general population to see at close hand the marvels of the creative world. Be it wanting to see a 16th century painting by Raphael, Russian Porcelain, Chinese The Hermitage houses one of the greatest collections of works of art in more than one thousand rooms is the unimaginable expanse of what was once the home of Empress Catherine11 who was responsible for acquiring tens of thousands of rarities for her own passion.
My interest was the collection of Meissen that unfortunately, most of which not on display albeit I was lucky enough to visit the ceramics warehouse. Even so there are a few cabinets with Meissen rarities there to impress.
Often during the eighteenth century to improve the appearance of many porcelain items were garnished with ormolu, a material made of gilded bronze as can be seen in this video. In this type of material ordinary pieces could be built to look extravagant in design. Here the Goddess Diana sits on a Chariot being driven by two horses chained to the main piece. Behind sits a clock garnished with floral work. On the top shelf is a group of Catherine 11 on a horse by Kaendler dating from 1755. In fact there are two similar versions of the same group, the larger of the two sees Catherine sitting next to her horse. These groups seen in this display cabinet illustrate the continent and this larger work of art is meant to show off its size in representing the most dominant continent at this time; Europe.
Amongst the more amusing pieces that Kaendler made for the court amongst the more than 2000 designs were his famous Monkey Band Figures. Other rare example are to be found is a group of Harlequin and Columbine and other early Kaendler Figural groups. Another very rare subject matter contained in the group is a black servant and more from the Italian Comedy that Kaendler is so well known for designing; a group of Pantaloon and Columbine.
Exotic animals such as this elephant centrepiece would have sat on the table at an aristocratic party where the guests would be able to inspect at close hand the marvels of these elaborate porcelain creations. Not only there to admire but also depending on the level of authority of the guests either as a gift or in the hope that such pieces would be ordered to be replicated for sale.
Kaendler and those who worked in collaboration such as Reineke and Eberlain and other employees manufactured tablewares in the design of flowers. Here is seen a water pot painted with crocuses. Further along on the bottom shelf is seen horse being led by a black slave who are often seen as servants replicating what would be in real life in this period. Watch Video Here