02 July 2013

Albertina Gold

The Goldkabinett of Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen

The Albertina Museum in Vienna is famous for its fine print collection and artworks on paper, notably those of Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt, but the former palace of Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen (1728-1822),  the noble art collector for whom the Albertina is named, is also worth visiting for its grand state rooms, which have been recently restored. 
Most of these rooms are decorated in an elegant Neoclassical style dating from the 1820s but there are one or two spaces that still sport the late Baroque décor of Duke Albert's era.  In particular this tiny chamber called the Goldkabinett "Gold Cabinet."


Goldkabinett at the Albertina, Vienna

I adore tiny jewel box rooms like this, and it seems to me that every Baroque palace or hôtel particulier just had to have one of these special, intimate, breathtaking little chambers.  A perfect spot for a private discussion,  collecting one's thoughts, or  just basking alone in the glow of a room created solely for the sake of beauty.

detail of the floral ornament painted onto the gilt paneling

The Goldkabinett is mirrored on four walls including the doors;  a marvelous effect for full gilt immersion; and features a some beautifully painted rose decorations along with a sweet little cloud ceiling mural and frieze panels with frolicking putti. 



The unusually rosy effulgence of this room is due to the special gold leaf used to gild it: an alloy consisting of 23-karat gold, 1/2-karat silver and 1/2-karat copper, and is still known today as "Albertina Gold."

large mirrors on each wall reflect more of the gilt splendor


More about the Albertina at Wikipedia
Another Golden Room

all images in this post by Lynne Rutter Vienna, 2012
click to view larger





5 comments:

  1. That is an exquisite room. I remember seeing incredible gold leaf detail when I visited Linderhoff when I was visiting Munich. It was like the inside of a jewelry box:)

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  2. I can imagine what it must be like to be in this room in person, and to experience the glow. It isn't surprising, but isn't it ironic that in palaces, the most favored rooms were often the smallest?

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  3. A very nice history on albertina gold...and the fact you worked in " effulgence " makes it even better!

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    1. in such a special room, the $50 words just fall on out!

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  4. I'd never heard of these little rooms! What a wonderful idea- beautiful and cozy. -Autumn

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