Exhibition: Vienna Circa 1780 | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Exhibition: Vienna Circa 1780

May 26, 2010

Exhibition: Vienna Circa 1780

"...the splendor of royal dining during the ancien régime"

Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered is on view now through November 11, 2010.  The exhibition features an amazing dining service on display in the Wrightsman Galleries. Why is this service so wonderful? It was made for the Duke Albert Casimir of Sachsen–Teschen and his wife Marie Christine, Marie Antoinette's older sister! The service was used at their banquets, and you can just imagine the table which it occupied...

The set took roughly four years to make, and was created for the royal couple by the court imperial goldsmith Josef Würth.  Over the years the pieces were split up but in 2002 two wine coolers were discovered in a private collection.  Now the Metropolitan Museum has on display the enormous set of over 300 pieces; wine coolers, plates, candlesticks, cloche &c.  It is well worth a visit.  The set has not been on display since the early twentieth century so do not miss your opportunity!

Würth was very talented, as you can see from this detail of the wine coolers,which serve as a focal point of the set.  The design is neoclassical, the details cast shadows and the metal reflects light.  The effect creates a wide range of contrast, making the scene pop out to the viewer.  You will be pretty amazed at the detail and time that went into creating these pieces.

If you cannot make it to the show before December, you can get a copy of the exhibition catalog here: Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered (Metropolitan Museum of Art).  The catalog and exhibition look at the dining service and others of that time period and consider the broader idea of dining room etiquette and ceremony.

1 comment

  1. I can't wait to see it, they had a Austrian porcelain exhibition at the Met last year and it was just beautiful. I'm even more fascinated with Vienna in the 18th Century than Paris! Thanks for posting this.