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The Prussian castles in historical views

The Prussian castles in historical views. The invention of glass gelatin plates revolutionized photography before 1900 - and today provides us with retrospectives and insights into conditions of the palaces and gardens in their historical surroundings.

Ausstellungsmotiv "Das gläserne Gedächtnis"
Ausstellungsmotiv "Das gläserne Gedächtnis" © SPSG

More than 20,000 glass negatives are kept in the photo collection of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG). They date from the end of the 19th century to the early 1980s and are an important part of the foundation's visual memory.

Photographs taken before the end of the Second World War are particularly valuable. They form the focus of the exhibition "The Glass Memory," which can be seen in the Roman Baths in Potsdam's Park Sanssouci.

In addition to historical photographs of the palaces in Berlin and Brandenburg, the exhibition primarily shows photographs of palace and garden ensembles that belonged to the Prussian palace administration as museum palaces before 1945. As a result of World War II and the division of Germany, they are now administered by other institutions, including the castles in the Rhineland, Mohlsdorf Castle in Thuringia, and Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe. Others were destroyed, such as the city palaces in Königsberg, Berlin and Potsdam.


The historical photographs document the effects of war and structural damage, restoration and renovation measures.Other volumes were created in connection with the removal of cultural assets since the beginning of the war. The collection also includes photographs of art objects that have been lost since the end of the war.

The historical photographs are negatives on glass gelatin dry plates. This photographic material, which came onto the market around 1878, was storable for the first time. In addition, its very short exposure times made it possible to take snapshots and documentary photographs outside the studios. The SPSG collection also contains some colored glass plate slides, so-called autochromes, from the workshop of the Berlin photographic pioneer Ottomar Anschütz (1846-1907).

Last but not least, the photographs are invaluable for research and conservation-restoration care of works of art. In the exhibition, selected art objects and architectural fragments are presented alongside the photographs with their image.
Additional information
  • Monday closed
  • Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00 - 17:30
  • last admission 16:45
Price: €5.00
Reduced price: €4.00
Events
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder
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Park Sanssouci - Römische Bäder