Curator’s Choice - Northern Vision #3
Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski selects another highlight from the current 'Northern Vision' Exhibition of drawings from the Tchoban Foundation - this time a drawing by Pöppelmann
I am particularly drawn to the architecture of Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann (1662 Herford – 1736 Dresden), whose work is represented in the exhibtion by this drawing: Project for the Orangery of the Peterswaldsky von Peterswald Palace, Silesia, c.1720. Pöppelmann is considered one of the greatest German Baroque architects and his lavishly exuberant style is characterised by playfulness, fantasy and a certain ‘majesty’. Much of his work, such as the Peterswaldsky Orangery remained unexecuted (he is associated with a proposed a design for the Royal Castle in Warsaw, which, if realised, would have eclipsed the garden façade of Versailles). Many of these projects were undertaken, from the 1690s, for Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (so-called because of his physical attributes; as a favourite party trick he was said to be able to straighten a horse shoe with his bare hands). This included the richly decorated Zwinger in Dresden, a complex of courtyard, pavilions and an Orangery, which he completed in 1711 and which acted as the setting for court festivities.
Despite his fame as an architect, drawings by Pöppelmann, are rare. This hitherto undocumented project is for an orangery for an unbuilt castle in Peterswald, Silesia. The magnificent façade is set on a central axis and shows a single-storey building with seventeen windows axes and a strongly offset entablature adorned with sculptures. The powerful portico framed by double columns is crowned by a faux-balcony. This somewhat academic façade design with its symmetrical projected and recessed areas clearly demonstrates the influence of contemporary French and Italian architecture rather than the more expressive Baroque style Pöppelmann used at the Zwinger where satyrs, nymphs, gods and goddesses proclaim the glory of Augustus the Strong.
Northern Vision: Master Drawings from the Tchoban Foundation runs from 21 June to 28 September in the Exhibition Gallery at Sir John Soane's Museum. Featuring highlights from the collection of Europe's newest museum of architetcure, the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin, as well as drawings by Sergei Tchoban illustrating his practice's interest in the continued use of architectural draughtsmanship. Many of these drawings also reflect the distinctive and historical cityscapes of Berlin and Sergei Tchoban's native St Petersburg.