Special Exhibition 2020

„Important Guests at Saxony’s most Beautiful Fortress“

30 May -  22 November 2020
opening hours: until 31 October: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | 1 - 22 November: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Magdalene’s Castle, 2nd floor

The special exhibition “Important Guests at Saxony‘s most Beautiful Fortress” tells the stories of famous visitors and the beginning of tourism at Königstein Fortress. The first tourists visited the table mountain in the early 18th century. Each visit to the military facility required a written permission from the governor of Dresden and was entered into an entrance journal by the gate guard. This became a true treasure for historical research at Königstein hill and the basis for the current special exhibition.
Valuable paintings, documents and objects show the most well-known guests of the 18th and 19th centuries and give visitors an insight into these famous people’s lives and their stays at Königstein hill. Among them were Tsar Peter I., Napoleon I., Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Gustav Carus, Bertel Thorvaldsen, and other renowned artists, politicians and scientists.

Highlights of the Exhibition

More than 20 lenders have contributed valuable originals, among them e.g. the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, the Musées communaux de Verviers (Belgium), Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen and the Dresden State Art Collections.

Tsar & Emperor | Peter the Great, Napoleon, Franz Josef I.
Zar Peter der Große | Porträt, Öl auf Leinwand | Archiv Festung Königstein gGmbH

Peter I., known as the Great (1672-1725)
Tsar and Grand Duke of Russia, first emperor of the Russian Empire

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, Jan Marc Nattier the Younger, 1717
    Lender: Bayrische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen, Residenz München

  • Treaty of alliance between Tsar Peter I. and Augustus the Strong (1701)
    Lender: Sächsisches Staatsarchiv, Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden

  • Letter from 16 November 1712 – announcing Tsar Peter I’s visit to the fortress.
    From 25 July 2020 as facsimile
    Lender: Sächsisches Staatsarchiv, Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden



Napoleon I. (1769-1821)
Kaiser von Frankreich

  • Porträt „Napoleon zu Pferde“, Öl auf Leinwand, Simon Meister, 1832
    ab 1. Juli 2020 als Reproduktion
    Leihgeber: Stadtmuseum Simeonstift Trier

  • Büste „Napoleon I.“, Biskuitporzellan, Sèvres, 1808
    Leihgeber: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Porzellansammlung

  • Büste “Napoleon 1812”, Carrara-Marmor, 1885
    Sammlung Festung Königstein gGmbH

  • Sattel Napoleons (1812)
    Leihgeber: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Rüstkammer

  • Reitstiefel Napoleons (1813)
    Leihgeber: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Rüstkammer


Franz Joseph I. (1830-1916)
Kaiser von Österreich

  • Porträt, Öl auf Leinwand, Johann Ranzi, 1851
    Leihgeber: Österreichische Bundesmobilienverwaltung, Wien
Artists | Canaletto, Thorvaldsen, Vigée-Lebrun
Marie Louise Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun | Porträt, Öl auf Leinwand | Archiv Festung Königstein gGmbH

Marie-Louise Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842)
French painter (court painter of the French Queen Marie-Antoinette)

  • Self-portrait, oil on canvas, 1790
    Lender: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, artist unknown, around 1790
    Lender: Musées communaux de Verviers, Belgium

  • Film presentation (played by an actress) based on entrances in Vigée-Lebrun’s diary about her visit of the fortress

Bernardo Belotto, known as Canaletto (1722-1780)
The landscape painter was entered into the fortress’ entrance journals several times.
Here, he created sketches and studies for large format paintings.

  • Magdalene’s Castle, Well House and John‘s Hall at Königstein Fortress
    Oil on canvas, 1756-58, reproduction
    bpk/Manchester City Galleries

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Danish sculptor and medallist

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, 1852, Apollinarij Horawski
    Lender: Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • “Cupid and Psyche”, cast relief/ casting over clay model
    Lender: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Albertinum
Scientists & politicians | Brühl, Carus, Humboldt ...
Alexander v. Humboldt | Porträt, Öl auf Leinwand, Künstler unbekannt | Archiv Festung Königstein

Alexander von Humboldt

  • Diary V – entry from 14 June 1797,
    shown in the exhibition from 27 May 2020 as facsimile
    Lender: Staatsbibliothek Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, second half of 19th century, artist unknown

Heinrich of Brühl (1700-1763)
Count, minister and premier minister under Augustus the Strong and Frederick Augustus II.

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, Christoph Friedrich Reinhold Lisiewsky, 18th century,
    Lender: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

Carl Gustav Carus
Natural scientist, painter and doctor, co-founder of the Medical Academy of Dresden

  • Photograph, F. and O. Brockmann, 1865
    Lender: SLUB Dresden/Deutsche Fotothek | Museen der Stadt Dresden – Stadtmuseum Dresden
Saxon Kings

King John of Saxony (1801-1873)
King of Saxony 1854-1873

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, artist unknown, around 1870
    Sammlung Festung Königstein gGmbH

King Albert of Saxony (1828-1902)
King of Saxony 1873-1902

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, Alfred Diethe, 1876,
    Sammlung Festung Königstein gGmbH

King George of Saxony (1832-1904)
Brother of King Albert, his successor to the throne (1902-1904)

  • Portrait, oil on canvas,  Franz Kors, 1895
    Sammlung Festung Königstein gGmbH

King Frederick Augustus III. (1865-1932)
Son of King George, last King of Saxony (1904 -1918)

  • Portrait, oil on canvas, Carl Bantzer, 1910
    Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden/Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister

Sensational Finding – the Elector’s Legendary Personal Scale

Curator A. Pawluschkow and A. Taube (executive director of Festung Königstein gGmbH) presenting the historic personal scale | Photo: Marko Förster

In 1712, Augustus the Strong had a personal scale installed at John’s Hall, today’s New Armoury. It was used at court festivities to determine the guests’ weight for everyone’s entertainment. This court tradition from Augustus’s time was continued even into the 20th century. The beam balance that had been lost for decades was found in 2019 during clearing works in the cellar of the Old Barracks and restored. In the exhibition, it is presented together with selected entries from the “Weight Register”. The original of this document, which recorded the weight of numerous famous personalities between 1712 and 1909, is considered lost. However, a copy from the 1930s still provides information on the corpulence of the illustrious guests.

Background image: Christian Gottlob Hammer - view of  Königstein Fortress in Saxony from west, colored outline etching, beginning of  19. century