Prince procession

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The prince's procession on the outer wall of the stable yard in Augustusstrasse

The prince's procession in Dresden is a larger than life picture of a cavalry procession, applied to around 23,000 tiles made of Meissen porcelain . The 102-meter-long work of art , considered to be the largest porcelain mural in the world, represents the ancestral gallery of the 34 margraves, dukes, electors and kings from the dynasty of the Wettin dynasty who ruled Saxony between 1127 and 1873 .

The Fürstenzug is located on Augustusstrasse , not far from the Frauenkirche , between Georgentor on one side and the Johanneum on the other. Here it was installed in its current form in 1907 on the outside of the stable courtyard of the Dresden Residenzschloss .


Template drawing
Reference to the laying work on the tiles in 1907

As early as 1589, the outer north wall of the stable yard that had just been built was painted with lime paint . However, this was weathered in the 19th century; In 1865, the history painter Wilhelm Walther presented a draft for the redesign: A procession of Saxon regents, to coincide with the upcoming 800th anniversary of the Wettin dynasty in 1889. Between 1868 and 1872 Walther co-created a template drawing one hundred meters long and four meters high Charcoal on squared paper. This is now stored on canvas in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in four zinc rolls. The production of the mural using the sgraffito technique, a scraping technique, lasted from 1872 to 1876. Walther tried to reproduce facial features and historical details as accurately as possible, including years of studies in the picture gallery and in the castle and the production of cardboard boxes on a 1: 1 scale helped. The black and white picture frieze, which was initially celebrated, was not very weatherproof; at the turn of the century it showed significant damage. In the years 1904 to 1907, it was therefore replaced by seamlessly adapted ceramic tiles from the Meißner Porzellanmanufaktur , whereby a new process was used for the first time: the tiles were fired sharply at 1380 ° C, coated with a layer of paint, and fired again. After that, porcelain painters transferred the picture onto the tiles, using the original cardboard used for the scratch-off technique. To make the tiles durable, they were burned again in a sharp fire. The approximately 23,000 tiles were attached to a prepared sub-floor plaster from April to July 1907. The tiles were laid by employees of the Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur Meißen, which is also evidenced by a note on the right upper edge of the entire screen.

During the work, King George died , who completed the procession as the prince at the time. His successor, the last Saxon King Friedrich August III. , should also be added to the train later. At the instruction of the then finance minister, with the consent of Friedrich August III. renounced it; the picture, which had already become historical, should remain unchanged.

The Fürstenzug survived the air raids on Dresden at the end of the Second World War in February 1945 largely unscathed; the china withstood the heat of the fire. From 1978 to 1979 the picture was cleaned and restored. 212 tiles that were largely destroyed by the war had to be replaced. At the same time, 442 tiles that were less damaged were added.


The procession of princes from Margrave Conrad the Great in the 12th century (left) to King George at the beginning of the 20th century (right)

The picture

The whole work should represent a tapestry ( picture knitting ). Above the tapestry is held by 38 differently designed fastening buttons on a wall designed by the artist. Below 38 large and 999 small tassels adorn the entire picture at irregular intervals. The incidence of light artistically depicted on the tapestry comes from the top left, which is clearly visible in the shadow of the fastening buttons. In the picture itself, however, the incidence of light comes from the front left.

Above the frieze, the work continues with a pictorial adornment between the eighteen windows and above. The many decorative festoons made of flower and fruit threads were once designed here by the architect Weißbach. At the foot of the painted pillars you can find heads of bears, boars, elks , foxes, wolves and ospreys with their prey.

In the decorative frame, long tendrils of different flowers, leaves and fruits, but also numerous birds and butterflies, are shown in noble shapes. There are 45 birds and 9 butterflies in the decorative frame. The butterflies are only present in the upper decorative frame, while the birds are distributed in the upper and lower decorative frame. The procession is opened by a herald on horseback, who half-turns to the next procession. On the left you can just make out a stone column festively wrapped in garlands. The path is sandy and is decorated with scattered flowers. In addition to numerous grasses, oak seedlings, oak branches, foxgloves, various types of thistles, lilies of the valley, dandelions, daisies, clover, fir branches and spruce branches can be recognized. Roses are also on the way and individual rose plants are visible in the background. Henry the Illustrious carries a zither ( cister ) on his back. He was a friend of minstrel and is said to remind us of the minstrel era with this detail. Albrecht II (the degenerate) does not wear a headgear, but a rosary on his head. Frederick the Arguable is the first Meissnian prince to be adorned with the electoral hat . A blooming rose is trampled under the right hind hoof of the horse of August II (Augustus the Strong). This detail has always puzzled the viewer. Presumably the artist Wilhelm Walther wanted to discreetly draw attention to the fate of Constantia von Cosel, also known as Countess Cosel . Under King John's horse there is a large lost hat feather, which could probably come from the hat decoration of Johann Georg I. None of the depicted people wear a ring as a finger jewelry. Two people are visibly wearing an earring.

A total of 94 people are represented in the Fürstenzug, 45 of whom ride on horseback and 49 people walk. Although many people seem to be communicating intensively with one another, those involved have their mouths shut. The artist W. Walther gave priority to gestures and gestures. The only visibly speaking person is the charcoal burner Georg Schmidt, rescuer of the kidnapped Prince Albrecht in the Altenburg prince robbery, who steps as the middle person behind Albrecht the Courageous. Sixteen people look out of the picture and make direct eye contact with the viewer. In addition to the 45 horses, there are two dogs and birds and butterflies can be seen in the decorative frame. Thus four animal species are represented in the Fürstenzug. Horses, dogs, birds and butterflies. Eleven flags are carried on the train, and the four fanfares of the wind instruments have a flag decoration. Nine people have no headgear whatsoever and fifty people have visibly beards. The Saxon farmer in the bottom group may have a fire mark or birthmark ( nevus ) on the left side of his face.

Different types of weapons are carried by the people depicted on the procession. You can see cutting weapons , stabbing weapons , sabers , bayonets , halberds , spears , pikes , spetum , partisans , daggers , knives and various sword forms. In addition, the viewer is presented with different lances , swords , foil , rapiers and stiletto . Moritz von Sachsen carries a war hammer with a hammer. A handgun, wheel lock pistol, is visible for the first time in Johann Georg I. It is attached to the riding saddle in a holfter . Subsequently, other firearms such as the shotgun , the musket , muzzle-loading handguns and breech- loading rifles are also carried. The complete works therefore also give a certain insight into the historical development of edged weapons and firearms.


The exact dimensions of the entire mural are - according to a contemporary architectural drawing - 101.9 m long and 10.51 m high. Since there are 18 windows in the upper part of the frieze, the area covered with tiles is only 968 square meters. The dimensions of the individual tiles are 20.5 cm × 20.5 cm. With a joint-free installation, around 23,000 tiles are attached to the wall, with parts also being used because of the enclosed windows.

The often mentioned number of around 25,000 tiles in the mural corresponds to the total number that were produced. Numerous tiles were required for the necessary preliminary investigations.

Pictured people

End of the prince's procession at Georgentor at night
12th century
Conrad the Great , the first regent of the procession
The trampled rose under the hoof of the horse of Augustus the Strong
The girl in the middle of the children's group is the only female figure in the Prince's procession
The history painter Wilhelm Walther as the final figure of the procession.
The approximately 20 cm × 20 cm large tiles can be seen in detail
Sandstone inscription for restoration in 1979

A total of 94 people are shown. There are 34 margraves , dukes, electors and kings from Saxony to King Albert. Behind King Albert, his brother Georg, then still a prince, was admitted to the train without the reign listed below. Furthermore, 59 scientists , artists , craftsmen, soldiers, children and farmers, forty-five horses and two greyhounds are depicted. In addition to representatives of the Kreuzschule , the Leipzig University and the Royal Saxon Polytechnic in Dresden , the painter Ludwig Richter , the sculptors Ernst Hähnel and Johannes Schilling and finally Wilhelm Walther himself with assistants can be seen behind the entourage of government heads. As a thank you for handing the order on to him and for his support, he depicted his teacher Julius Huebner as the 12th person from the right, so he is holding the draft of the Prince's procession in his hands. Except for Heinrich I von Eilenburg (around 1089) and the last King Friedrich August III. all rulers of the House of Wettin are arranged in the order of their reign. Under each of them, except for King Albert, who was still ruling at the time (only year from taking office) and Prince George who was not yet ruling (no year), the person's name and period of reign can be read.

Most of the descriptions only mention 93 people. This is due to the fact that the 94th person was only found in the context of the “living” prince procession on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of Dresden. It remained undiscovered behind the scientists, artists and students because you can only see the headgear and a flag.

Pictured regents:

Motto of some regents (arranged above the people)

  • Verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA) (The word of God lasts in eternity) - motto of the Lutheran Reformation - Frederick the Wise
  • Laus Tibi Deo (Praise be to God) - John the Constant
  • Spes Mea In Deo Est (My hope is in God) - Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous
  • The name of the Lord be praised - George the Bearded
  • God is my helper and savior - Henry the Pious
  • Finally overcome the good cause - Moritz or August
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - Christian II.
  • Christ of my life goal - Johann Georg I.
  • God and the Fatherland - Johann Georg II.
  • The Lord is my banner - Iehova Vexillum Meum - Johann Georg III., See also keystone in the small courtyard ( picture )
  • Providentiae Memor (Mindful of Providence) - Friedrich August the Just

Other people shown in the Fürstenzug:

  • Front group in front of Konrad the Great
    • the herald
    • four fanfare players
    • a horn blower
    • a flute player
    • a timpanist
    • three standard bearers
    • two squires
  • behind Albrecht the proud
    • a standard bearer
    • a swordtail (jurisdiction)
    • Nickel von Minckwitz (around 1485–1549), knight in the Saxon and electoral Brandenburg services
  • behind Heinrich the Illustrious
    • Hildebrand I von Einsiedel (around 1400–1461), Upper Marshal of the Electorate of Saxony
  • behind Friedrich the Strict
    • Wilhelm Friedrich von Milckau (1550–1623), court master of the Electorate of Saxony, lieutenant colonel
    • George von Gablentz (* around 1321), knight in the service of the Margrave-Meissnian
    • Georg von Carlowitz (1471–1550), ducal councilor, governor of Radeberg
  • behind Albrecht the Courageous
    • Heinrich von Hausen, Landgrave Thuringian High Marshal
    • Georg Schmidt, Koehler, rescuer of the kidnapped Prince Albrecht in the Altenburg prince robbery
    • Dietrich von Schönberg , ducal Saxon councilor, electoral Saxon privy councilor
  • behind Henry the Pious
  • behind Johann Georg I.
  • behind Johann Georg IV.
    • Johann Ehrenfried von Nauendorf (* 1701), imperial captain, electoral Saxon chamberlain, governor in the Vogtland
  • behind August III.
  • behind Friedrich August II.
    • Julius Traugott Jakob von Könneritz (1792–1866), Saxon guardsman, later chairman of the entire Saxon ministry
    • Albrecht Adolph Levin von Metzsch (1772–1812), major in the royal Saxon light infantry

Persons depicted in the final group: The last group of riders represents the 5 branches of the Saxon army :

  • Grenadier on foot (Royal Saxon Leibgrenadier Regiment No. 100 Dresden, with coat of arms of the Vitzthum von Eckstädt )
  • Gunner on foot (with coat of arms of the von Metzradt family )
  • Ulan on horseback (2nd Royal Saxon Uhlan Regiment, Lord von Nostitz )
  • Guard rider (coat of arms of the von Posern family )
  • Rifleman on foot - Ensign in the Royal Saxon Fusilier Regiment No. 108, Kurt von Lüttichau († August 18, 1870 St. Private / France)

Then the bourgeois "infantry" follows in the final group:

  • Student of the Kreuzgymnasium (the son of Wilhelm Walther)
  • Corps student at the University of Leipzig (a Herr von Erdmannsdorff , coat of arms on sash)
  • Student at the Technical University of Dresden
  • Architect Hermann Nikolai
  • Painter Carl Gottlieb Peschel
  • Painter Julius Huebner (both looking at their own design of the Prince's Train)
  • Sculptor Johannes Schilling
  • Sculptor Ernst Hähnel
  • Painter Ludwig Richter
  • Children's group, a Ludwig Richter motif, the girl in the middle is the only female figure in the prince's procession
  • Germanist Ernst Förstemann (Director of the Royal Library)
  • Privy Councilor Wiesener, Head of the Fine Arts Department in the Royal Ministry (promoted the project)
  • Art historian and archaeologist Freiherr von Weißenbach , family coat of arms, the ox head, on the shirt collar
  • a person of whom only the hat can be recognized, a flag bearer ( identified as Clemens Freiherr von Hausen )
  • an employee of Walther, carpenter Kern
  • a Saxon miner
  • a Saxon farmer
  • one of Walther's employees, Maurer Pietsch
  • the creator of the Fürstenzug, history painter Wilhelm Walther (1826–1913)

Depicted coat of arms

From left to right, the 35 coats of arms of the following gentlemen and offices are shown. They run in a band under the figures.

Coat of arms of the Duchy of Saxony
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland
Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Lively prince procession to Dresden

As part of the 800th anniversary of the city of Dresden in 2006, the prince's procession was sponsored by the Rochlitz association “Der Fürstenzug zu Dresden” e. V. staged as a “living picture” with almost 50 costumed riders and horses as well as an approximately equal number of other contributors. Since May 2007 the costumes can be seen in an exhibition at Rochlitz Castle . In 2018 the Dresden porcelain mural was reproduced for the third time; the train led from Rochlitz to Seelitz . A continuation is planned for 2019.


Sample picture of 50 ceramic tiles with Friedrich the Serious on a courtyard facade of the Meissen porcelain factory

A sample picture of 50 ceramic tiles with Margrave Friedrich the Serious , which convinced King Georg on May 12, 1903, of the applicability of the new process, can still be seen on the courtyard facade of the Meissen porcelain factory. The sample picture in Meissen shows minor deviations, which were apparently changed again. The arrangement of the decorative patterns with the small, cube-like elements in the background does not match that of the Dresden factory. The positions of the painting on the individual tiles are also different here. Originally there were two sample photos. To the left of the smaller sample image that can still be seen today, there was also a larger image of the Prince's procession on the facade of the house. Friedrich the bitten and Friedrich the serious were once seen here in their original size. This picture has been removed for the installation of windows.

On the left side of the Fürstenzug there is a sandstone inscription on the wall, which indicates the completion of the restoration work in 1979.

See also


  • Reinhard Delau: The prince procession in Dresden. Edition Sächsische Zeitung, Dresden 2005, ISBN 3-938325-12-7
  • Matthias Donath , Peter Knierriem and Frank Schmidt: The Prince's Procession - A mural comes to life. Edition Sächsische Zeitung, Dresden 2007
  • Karlheinz Blaschke : The prince procession to Dresden. Urania, Freiburg 1991, ISBN 3-332-00377-1
  • Clemens Freiherr von Hausen: The procession of princes on the sgraffito frieze at the Royal Palace of Dresden. Dresden 1903
  • Theodor Meinhold: The frieze of the sgraffito pictures of the Saxon Princely House at the Royal Palace in Dresden (Augustusstraße) executed by W. Walther , Dresden 1880
  • Clemens Beeck: Highlights in Dresden . 1st edition. Jaron Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-89773-914-7 , pp. 36 f .

Web links

Commons : Fürstenzug  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Wappen am Fürstenzug  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Matthias Donath: An amazing mural - How the procession of princes came about. In: Der Fürstenzug - A wall picture comes to life edition Sächsische Zeitung, 1st edition, Meißen 2007, pp. 8-17
  2. Reinhard Delau: The Princes in Dresden. Edition Sächsische Zeitung, Dresden 2005, ISBN 3-938325-12-7 , pp. 8-14
  3. Press reports in Berliner Zeitung, October 4, 1979, Neue Zeit, October 11, 1979, Neue Zeit, October 17, 1979
  4. Note on this restoration is also a sandstone inscription on the left side below the picture
  5. ^ Theodor Meinhold: The frieze of the sgraffito pictures of the Saxon dynasty at the royal palace in Dresden (Augustusstraße) executed by W. Walther , 1880, page 3 and 4.
  6. ^ Theodor Meinhold: The frieze of the sgraffito pictures of the Saxon dynasty at the Royal Palace in Dresden (Augustusstraße) executed by W. Walther , 1880, from page 4.
  7. a b c d Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH, historical collections, archive files AA III K 70
  8. Theodor Meinhold: The frieze of the sgraffito pictures of the Saxon ducal house at the Royal Palace in Dresden (Augustusstraße) executed by W. Walther , 1880, from page 12.
  9. Theodor Meinhold: The frieze of the sgraffito pictures of the Saxon ducal house at the Royal Palace in Dresden (Augustusstraße) executed by W. Walther , 1880, from page 12.
  10. The actors. ( Memento of the original from November 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Association “The Princes of Dresden” e. V., Rochlitz; accessed on November 22, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. a b Matthias Donath: The procession of princes - a mural comes to life . Editorial and publishing company Elbland, Meißen 2007
  12. Postcards No. 14745, 18054 and 19053 by Brück & Sohn from 1912, 1914 and 1915

Coordinates: 51 ° 3 ′ 9.6 ″  N , 13 ° 44 ′ 21 ″  E