Blick in einen Ausstellungsraum
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Jürgen Loesel

The Firearms Gallery in the Long Corridor at the Royal Palace

The “Long Corridor” is one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Saxony. Elector Christian I commissioned the architect Paul Buchner (with the involvement of court artist Giovanni Maria Nosseni) to construct the Gallery (1588/90) to connect the Residenzschloss to the newly erected stable building (what is now the Johanneum).

  • Opening Hours daily 10—18, Tuesday closed
  • Admission Fees normal 14 €, reduced 10,50 €, under 17 free, Groups (10 persons and more) 12,50 €
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Zunächst diente der Gang

The space served as a gallery of ancestors for the House of Wettin and was decorated with the appropriate paintings by court painter Heinrich Göding the Elder and his workshop in 1598—1592. In 1733, a large part of the Rüstkammer firearms collection was transferred to the Long Corridor. The idea to do so might have originated under August the Strong, but it was his son and successor August III, who realized the project after his father´s death. From that time until today, the collection of long guns and pistols has been one of the most important princely firearms collections in Europe.

Raumansichten

„Das königliche Leibgewehr auf der Stallgalerie“

“The personal arms of the king in the stable gallery” presented long guns and pistols according to type and geographical origin. The guns were kept and displayed in 18 cabinets placed in every second recessed arch. They constituted a representative collection but were also in use. The king and his court regularly used the ca. 1800 firearms for hunting and target-shooting. During the following two centuries, hundreds of firearms, pieces of hunting equipment, and crossbows were added to the collection.

The building and the wall paintings were heavily damaged in the bombing of 1945, but the firearms had been evacuated in time. They were taken to the Soviet Union after the war and returned almost in full in 1958/59.

historisches Foto eines Raumes mit Waffen
© SLUB, Deutsche Fotothek, Foto: Schönbach
Blick in den Langen Gang, Richtung Westen, vor der Neugestaltung 1932/33

Impressionen

Mit der Wiederherstellung des historischen Raumes

With the restoration of the historical space and coffered ceiling, a representative selection of ca. 500 of the most magnificent firearms of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the collection of the Saxon electors is now returning to the Long Corridor of the Residenzschloss. Shot guns, rifles, and pistols from all over Europe are exhibited in showcases modeled on the historical cabinets, following a geographical and chronological order. An impression of the tight installation of the “personal arms of the king” is presented at the end of the corridor, accompanied by ancestral portraits, pictures of tournaments, and deer trophies, in part from the original holdings of the Long Corridor.

© Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: Jürgen Lösel
Steinschlossflinte (Detail) Georg Zöffel, Wiesenthal, vor 1705

Functionality of weapons

Airguns

In the wake of the scientific discovery of atmospheric pressure in the 17th century, gunmakers devised several pneumatic shooting mechanisms. An air pump was used to store compressed air in a reservoir sealed with a pneumatic valve; the air pressure would then serve as propellent for the projectile. The advantages of such airguns included their noiselessness and multi-shot capability. The special mechanism shown here is found in an early 18th-century airgun likely produced in Poland.

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Windbüchsen

The Lorenzoni Repeater

One of the great challenges of early gunmaking was the production of multi-shot firearms. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Florentine court gunmaker Michele Lorenzoni produced repeating guns with a 30-shot capacity. The system named after him offered fully automated processes for charging powder and bullet, priming, shutting the battery and cocking. However, similar models presented a relatively high risk of explosion.

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Das Lorenzoni-Repetiersystem

The Matchlock

The matchlock is an early form of a mechanical ignition device for firearms. It was developed in the 15th century and was used in the military until the early 18th century. The powder in the pan was ignited by a smouldering fuse through a trigger mechanism, so that the actual propellant charge in the barrel could detonate through the ignition hole.

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Funktionsweise eines Luntenschlosses

The Wheel Lock

The wheel lock was developed shortly after 1500, probably in southern Germany (Nuremberg or Augsburg) or in northern Italy. In the wheel lock, sparks are created by the friction of a pyrite (FeS2 / "fool's gold") on the grooved face of a rotating wheel, which ignites the powder in the pan and releases the shot in the barrel chamber.

Around 1500, Leonardo da Vinci produced drawings (Codex Atlanticus) showing a similar wheel lock mechanism.

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Funktionsweise eines Radschlosses mit weissem Abspann

The Flintlock

Around 1600-1610 a type of flintlock was developed in France that remained the main firing mechanism for guns and pistols for the next 200 years. A flintstone clamped in the cock strikes a steel striking surface, the pan covered by the pan lid is opened at the same time, and the spark ignites the priming powder inside.

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Funktionsweise eines Steinschlosses

The Miquelet Lock (Snap Lock)

A modified type of lock, in which the ignition spark is created by striking a flintstone on a striking steel, is the miquelet or Spanish snap lock. It was developed in Spain, probably independently of the French flintlock.

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Funktionsweise eines Miquelet Schlosses

Courtly Target Shooting

Shooting competitions became a a popular pastime at the courts of the early modern period, gradually replacing tournaments as the courtly "sport". Initially, crossbows were used to shoot at targets or wooden birds, then increasingly rifles (“Scheibenbüchsen“).

Fixed regulations included the various prize categories. Prize shootings were organised at the Dresden court in the 18th century for example on the day of the Order of the White Eagle (3rd August). Night-time shooting was a speciality: if the target was hit, a firework rocket was set off.

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Scheibenschiessen V5

weitere

Further Exhibitions

Münzkabinett

in Residenzschloss

Münzen, Medaillen und Orden

Kunstkammer

in Residenzschloss

Brettspiel mit 30 farbigen Holzsteinen

On the Way to Electoral Power

in Residenzschloss

aufwendig mit Edelsteinen verzierte Kopfbedeckung, darauf Engel und Heilige

Electoral Wardrobe

in Residenzschloss

Aufwendig besticktes und verziertes Kleid im Seitenprofil.
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