The Splendour of Power

The objects displayed in the exhibition at the Schmuck Museum in Pforzheim present objects from the House of Habsburg that have been collected in the course of centuries. They do not only stand out for their compelling beauty, uniqueness and splendour. They also testify to imperial pomp, a refined sense for the arts and the Habsburgs’ continuous passion for collecting. A superb selection of about 60 works of art, mainly from the late Renaissance and the Mannerism periods as well as from the Baroque period have been assembled for this exhibition of objects from the former Imperial collection. These filigreed pieces of jewellery, gem-studded gold goblets and bowls, lavishly decorated vessels and exquisitely carved gems carry the beholder back into the worlds of imperial rule. Once used because of their uniqueness and magnificence to underline the House of Habsburg’s importance and power, the exhibits now resplendently reflect the splendour of power. They were often used as showpieces for the admiration and pleasurable amusement of a distinguished audience, rather than objects for daily use. The power of the image as tools of legitimacy of power and self representation. The elaborately crafted pieces are representative of the finest goldsmith art, exquisite onyx, agate or lapis lazuli cameos, delicate coral, ivory or amber jewellery, magnificent rock crystal, jasper or nephrite vessels, as well as artfully adorned exotica featuring, for example, nautilus shells or rhinoceros horn.