Please note that the Historic Green Vault remains closed until further notice. The New Green Vault is open regularly.
In order to minimise the spread of the coronavirus all museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden remain closed until 20 April 2020.
The Dresden court jeweller Johann Heinrich Köhler
Dinglinger's strongest rival
Johann Heinrich Köhler (1669 – 1736) was undoubtedly one of the finest artists at the court of August the Strong during the first third of the 18th century. In contrast to his much more prominent contemporary, the court jeweller Johann Melchior Dinglinger (1664 – 1731), little is known about his life and his work as a goldsmith and – from 1718 – as a court jeweller. To mark the 350th anniversary of his birth, this exhibition is focusing for the first time on the highly original body of works created by Köhler and showcasing the enormous range of his artistic production.
He left behind not only exquisite pearl figures, precious mounts for ivory figures, unique ornate clocks and jewel sets. During the establishment of the Grünes Gewölbe as a Baroque treasure chamber, Köhler was also responsible for the maintenance, valuation and cataloguing of the works of art. His treatment of the historical objects is characterised by unusually sensitive interventions and ingenious new creations of his own – such as the Nautilus Cup with Forked Coral.
A highlight of the exhibition is a large altar cross richly studded with precious stones. Already seriously ill, the goldsmith donated it to St Stephen’s church (Bergkirche St. Stephan) in his native town of Bad Langensalza shortly before his death, and it is still held there today. The anniversary is an opportunity to show this impressive, little-known late work by Köhler in Dresden for the first time. In preparation for the exhibition, the stones used to embellish it were subjected to scientific analysis, producing some surprising findings, which are also presented.