Palace Chapel (Dresden)

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Plaster model of the palace chapel

The castle chapel in Dresden is a sacred building built by Melchior Trost between 1551 and 1553 in the Dresden Residenzschloss .


The chapel was built from 1551 to 1553 based on the model of the Torgau Castle Chapel and represents the second Protestant church building in Saxony, as it was in Torgau as a transverse church with a pulpit on the north longitudinal wall. It was 10.2 meters wide and 21.8 meters long. In the sacred building, late Gothic forms were mixed with forms from the Renaissance . It showed a loop rib vault , i.e. a reinforced cross rib vault , in the late Gothic style, which rested on three-quarter columns. These columns were supported at gallery height on buttresses set inwards. Architectural sculptures made of sandstone, dragons and angels, and figural paintings in the spandrels, adorned the vault.

Restored loop rib vault (completion: 2013)

Due to the conversion of Elector Friedrich August I to the Catholic Church, the chapel no longer met the requirements. In favor of the Catholic Court Church , the chapel was dissolved and converted in 1737. The Renaissance portal, the altar and the baptismal font were transferred to the Sophienkirche , which now served as the Protestant court church. Another storey with a brick vault was drawn into the two-storey chapel room, creating a multi-storey wing that was used for residential purposes. After the castle was largely destroyed in World War II, the 18th century ground floor vault was initially retained, but collapsed in 1966 despite security measures. From 1985 the building complex was rebuilt. In 1989 the shell of the chapel, which temporarily served as an interim stage for the Staatsschauspiel, was completed. In the years 2009-2013 the loop rib vault was painstakingly reconstructed.

In September 2013 it reopened as a concert and event space. With the temporary exhibition ALL IN ALL. The world of thought of the mystical philosopher Jacob Böhme , the restored palace chapel was first used as an exhibition space in 2017.


Altar from 1662

Simultaneously with the construction, the altar of the castle chapel was built in 1554/1555. The middle part of the altar is in two parts. The lower part consists of an alabaster relief depicting the crucifixion of Christ and is flanked by a pair of columns on either side. Above is a second part, where an entablature is carried by three caryatids , girls' figures. Two reliefs made of alabaster can be seen between the girls' figures , Adam and Eve in paradise and their expulsion from paradise. The middle section comes from the school of Cornelis Floris . Hans Walther II later added two side extensions showing the figures of John and Moses. Giovanni Maria Nosseni added a frame encompassing the central building and the two side buildings. So in 1602 two flanking columns, with entablature and a triple pass above, were attached. The altar was transferred to Torgau in 1662, where it was smashed in 1945 but reconstructed by Werner Hempel . The altar is the only evidence of the Dutch Renaissance after Cornelis Floris in Dresden: "It is the only time that a Dutch influence can be proven in Dresden, at a time when Dutch buildings almost flooded the country."

In 1662 the palace chapel received a new altar designed by Wolf Caspar von Klengel and with which various local marble types were used. After the castle chapel was closed in 1737, the altar was moved to the Sophienkirche, where it was placed in the Busmann chapel .


Copper engraving of the palace chapel in 1676 by David Conrad (1604–1681), in the picture Heinrich Schütz with singers
Reproduced from the palace chapel from 1835

Between 1610 and 1612, Gottfried Fritzsche built an organ based on a design by Hans Leo Haßler . The organ was removed along with the rest of the inventory in 1737. It ended up in a modified form in the Matthäuskirche and was demolished in 1861. The last remaining parts of the prospectus were lost in the bombing of Dresden in 1945 . Frank-Harald Greß described the possible replica in 1992. This project was dealt with in other publications and at several specialist conferences. The reconstruction also serves to complete the architectural space. A reconstruction can be carried out using the original Fritzsche registers in other organs, particularly in Harbke . Roland Eberlein criticized the project as historicistic and speculative. Proponents welcome the replica as an important example of the music of the late Renaissance and Lutheranism and of the effectiveness of Heinrich Schütz .

The copper engraving by David Conrad from 1676 shows a five-part prospectus, the fields of which rise in steps with round arches towards the center. Double doors in the style of a winged altar were attached to the sides . On the curved gallery next to the altar, two organ positives were also placed, which were used for the performance of multi-choir music . The Fritzsche organ had 33 registers distributed over two manuals and a pedal . A special feature was the use of six sub-semitonies in E-flat / D-flat and G-sharp / A-flat on the manuals, which expanded the key range of the mean-tone tuning . The three tongue registers in the manual were gold-plated and were in the prospectus. With Michael Praetorius the execution of the disposition is handed down:

I positive CDEFGA – d 3
1. Principal 4 ′
2. Lovely flutes 8th'
3. Pointed whistles 4 ′
4th Super octave 2 ′
5. OctavQuint 1 13
6th Zimbel II
7th Krummhorn 8th'
II Oberwerk CDEFGA – d 3
8th. Great Quintadeena 16 ′
9. Principal 8th'
10. Wooden principal 8th'
11. Quintadeena 8th'
12. Gemhorn 6 ′
13. Octava 4 ′
14th Coppel Octava 4 ′
15th Quinta via Octava 3 ′
16. Gedact Nasatt 3 ′
17th SuperQuinta 1 13
18th Mixture IV 2 ′
19th Zimbel II 12
20th Trumpet 8th'
II breast positive CDEFGA – d 3
21st Quintadeena 4 ′
22nd Sharp Octav 2 ′
23. Gedacktflötlin 2 ′
24. Schwigelpfeif 1'
25th shelf 4 ′
Pedal CDEFGA – d 1
26th SubBass open 16 ′
27. Gedacter SubBass 16 ′
28. Great Quintadeena 16 ′
29 Principal 8th'
30th Pointed flute 1'
31. SubBass trombones 16 ′
32. Cornett 2 ′
33. Vogelsang

Golden Gate

The outer portal, also known as the Golden Gate or Beautiful Gate, was built in 1556 based on the model of Roman triumphal arches. The design was probably made by Giovanni Maria da Padua , a student of Jacopo Sansovino , the execution is attributed to Hans Kramer and the sculptures by Hans Walther II. An architrave adorned with a frieze rests on two pairs of Corinthian columns erected on pedestals . Above that there is an attic , which has been decorated with a relief in the middle. On both sides of the relief in the middle there are niche figures adorned by flanking pilasters. The attic bears a Latin inscription: Verbum domini manet in aeternum (God's word remains in eternity). Three statues stand above the attic, with Christ in the middle flanked by the allegories of Faith and Strength . Wilhelm Lübke described it as "by far the most noble portal composition of the entire German Renaissance, in the beauty of the proportions, the clarity of the composition, the grace of the ornaments and the freedom of structure the spirit of a fully developed High Renaissance".

The Golden Gate was added to the west portal of the Sophienkirche in 1737, but was removed when the church was rebuilt in 1864. In 1872 it was built next to the south facade of the Johanneum , where it was damaged in 1945. In 2004 the portal, the replica of which is now located at the entrance to the castle chapel in the large castle courtyard, was dismantled.



Web links

Commons : Residenzschlosskapelle, Dresden  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Birgit Grimm: Heaven made of bricks and sandstone. In: Sächsische Zeitung , September 12, 2013.
  2. ^ Fritz Löffler: The old Dresden - history of its buildings. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1981, p. 38 u. P. 59, image no. 67.
  3. Sächsische Zeitung of September 11, 2013: Dresden Palace Chapel completed , accessed on November 27, 2018.
  4. ^ Thomas Bauer, Jörg Lauterbach: The loop rib vault of the Dresden Castle Chapel - aspects of a historical reconstruction . In: Neumarkt-Kurier. 1/2015, pp. 8–11 (PDF).
  5. Press release ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. dated September 3, 2013, accessed June 14, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. ^ Exhibition in Dresden: The life of the mystical philosopher Jacob Böhme . In: Deutschlandfunk , September 3, 2017, accessed on March 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Fritz Löffler: The old Dresden - history of its buildings. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1981, p. 36, image no. 36.
  8. a b Fritz Löffler: The old Dresden - history of its buildings. E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1981, p. 38.
  9. a b Greifenberg Institute for Musical Instrument Research: Dresden, Schlosskapelle , accessed on August 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Frank-Harald Greß: The Gottfried Fritzsche organ of the Dresden castle chapel. Investigations to reconstruct their sound image. In: Acta Organologica . Vol. 23, 1992, pp. 67-112; as well as his article The Gottfried Fritzsche Organ of the Dresden Palace Chapel and its reconstruction. (= Saxon studies on older music history; 3 ). In: Matthias Herrmann (Hrsg.): The music care in the Protestant castle chapel Dresden during the Schütz time. Kamprad, Altenburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-930550-55-5 , pp. 141-157.
  11. Roland Eberlein: Another reconstruction project: The organ by Gottfried Fritzsche 1610–12 in the Dresden Castle Chapel is to be rebuilt (PDF file; 397 kB), accessed on August 1, 2014.
  12. ^ Michael Praetorius: Syntagma musicum . Volume 2, p. 187 ( online ), accessed August 1, 2014.
  13. Manfred Zumpe: The Brühl terrace in Dresden. Verlag für Bauwesen, Berlin 1991, p. 37.
  14. ^ Fritz Löffler: The old Dresden - history of its buildings . E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1981, p. 53, image no. 57. [The gate to the castle chapel]

Coordinates: 51 ° 3 ′ 9.9 ″  N , 13 ° 44 ′ 12.9 ″  E