Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Amber Room

The Amber Room – Amber Panels of Gold Leaf and Mirrors

The Amber Room
The Amber Room also known as the Amber Chamber in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg is a complete chamber which is decorated with amber panels of gold leaf and mirrors which were created in the eighteenth century though it disappeared during the World War II but recreated again in 2003.

It is one of the most amazing treasures that have ever been created by man where an entire room has been forged of exquisite amber from its four massive walls to its richly and finely crafted furniture which is also a subject of one among many history’s intriguing mysteries. Before it had disappeared, the Amber room was at times dubbed as `the Eighth Wonder of the World’, due to its amazing beauty. The Amber Room construction was done from 1701 to 1711 in Prussia in order to be installed at the palace which was the home of Friedrich I, the first King of Prussia,

The concept of the Amber Room as well as its design was done by Andreas Schluter, a German baroque sculptor together with Danish amber craftsman, Gottfried Wolfram while in service of the Prussian king who worked till 1707 and then the work was continued by Gottried Turau and Ernst Schacht amber masters from Danzig. Till 1716, the amber cabin was in Berlin City Palace when the same was given by Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I to his ally Tsar Peter the Great of the Russian Empire.

Originally intended to be installed at Catherine Palace 

The Amber Room
Though the Amber Room was originally intended to be installed at Catherine Palace, the complete panels was installed at Berlin City Palace and the Amber Room was not there for long since it was presented by Friedrich Wilhelm I the first king’s son in 1716 to Peter the Great who admired it on his visit to the palace. With this the Prussian Russian alliance against Sweden was formed. The Amber Room was shipped in eighteen large boxes to Russia and installed in the Winter House in St. Petersburg to be a part of European art collection.

Czarina Elizabeth in 1755 ordered the room to be moved to the Catherine Place and the Italian designer Bartolomoe Francesco Rastrelli then redesigned the room to fit it into its new large space with the addition of amber which was shipped from Berlin. It expanded in Russia and after much renovation it covered an area of 180 square metres containing over six tons of glowing amber together with other semi-precious stones. The amber panels which were backed with gold leaf were estimated by historians at that time to be worth $142 million in present time dollars.

Completed in 1755 and Restored in 1830

It was completed in 1755 and restored in 1830. During World War II, the Amber Room was looted by the Nazi Germany and brought to Konigsberg and no information was available about its whereabouts thereafter. Towards 1979, the Amber was undertaken to be rebuilt and by 2003 after decades of great pain and efforts by Russian craftsmen and financed by donations from Germany, the reconstructed and restored Amber Room was finally inaugurated in the Catherine palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Over a period of time, the Amber Room was utilised as a private meditation room for Czarina Elizabeth, a gathering place for Catherine the Great as well as a trophy area for amber connoisseur Alexander II

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