Art-Amber Room TB
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Texas, United States
In I Smell Bacon!
This is not collectible.
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Please drop this item in rural OR Premium Member Only caches. Do not place it in an urban cache or abandon it at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; this prevents tangling with other items. Otherwise, take this travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission needed to leave the U.S.
Travel bug photos in the logs are appreciated. I will re-post them here, where they can be seen by other cachers.
About This Item
I have already released series of art-themed travel bugs based on works I have seen in person. I will continue the series mostly including works I simply admire. There will also be famous works or works by famous artists that I otherwise do not particularly care for, but they are….well, famous. My disdain extends to most Modern Art and a good amount from the Pop Art movement.
On the web, there are lists of stolen art from WW II to present. This TB is recalls one such piece, the Amber Room. I read a mystery novel centered around the Amber Room and it piqued my interest. The room was once dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” It was a chamber decorated in amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. It was located in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg. Originally constructed in the 18th century in Prussia, it is thought to have been looted during WWII by the Nazis and taken to the city of Königsberg, never to be seen again.
The room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. Schlüter and Wolfram worked on the room 1701-1707, when work was continued by amber masters Gottfried Turau and Ernst Schacht from Danzig. The amber cabinet remained in the Berlin City Palace until 1716 when it was given by the Prussian King Frederick William I to his then ally, Tsar Peter the Great of the Russian Empire. In Russia, the room was expanded and after several renovations, it covered more than 590 sqare feet and contained over 6 tons of amber.
Shortly after the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, the curators responsible for removing the art treasures in Leningrad tried to disassemble and remove the Amber Room. However, over the years the amber had dried out and became brittle, making it impossible to move the room without crumbling the amber. The Amber Room was hidden behind mundane wallpaper, in an attempt to keep German forces from seizing it. Predictably, the attempt to hide such a well-known piece of art failed. German soldiers disassembled the Amber Room within 36 hours. The priceless room reached Königsberg in East Prussia, for storage and display in the town's castle. In the final stages of the war, Hitler ordered the movement of looted possessions from Königsberg. However, before the Room could be moved, the person responsible for civil administration in Königsberg abandoned his post and fled the city.
In August 1944, Königsberg was heavily fire bombed by the Royal Air Force. The city suffered further extensive damage from artillery from the advancing Red Army before the final occupation on 9 April 1945. The Room was subsequently lost to history.
In 1979, efforts were undertaken to rebuild the Amber Room at Tsarskoye Selo. In 2003, after decades of work by Russian craftsmen and donations from Germany, the reconstructed Amber Room was inaugurated at the Catherine Palace near Saint Petersburg. The two photos uploaded for this travel bug are different views of that reconstruction.
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