ein Kupferstich mit den Porträts von Friedrich August von Sachsen und Maria Josepha von Österreich
© SKD, Foto: Herbert Boswank

CONSTELLATIO FELIX. Planetenfeste Augusts des Starken * Sternenbilder von Thomas Ruff

CONSTELLATIO FELIX – a fortunate stellar constellation – is the motto of one of the most significant celebrations of the Baroque era: the 1719 Festivals of the Planets held by Augustus the Strong in Dresden. The king staged the event to mark the marriage of his son Frederick Augustus (II) to Archduchess Maria Josepha of Habsburg, a link on which he pinned the lofty hope of securing the Imperial crown for his royal house.

  • DATES 13/04/2014—09/06/2014


For a whole month in the late summer, every day brought new attractions at various sites in the royal capital and its surroundings. One set of increasingly extravagant highlights were the festivals dedicated to the planets: fireworks for Apollo / Sol, jousting and foot tourneys for Mars, the god of war; Four Elements tilting games for Jupiter; a waterfowl hunt for Luna / Diana, the goddess of hunting; a Banquet of the Nations and fair for Mercury; jousting for ladies' favours to honour Venus, the goddess of love, and finally a mine festival for Saturn.

Kupferstich mit Menschen, die den Nachthimmel betrachten
© SKD, Foto: Boswank
Carl Heinrich Jacob Fehling, Die große Illumination beim Bergwerksfest im Plauenschen Grund am 26. September 1719 Feder, Pinsel in Grau auf blauem Papier; 87x55,5 cm


Since ancient times, all life on Earth had been seen as an integral part of a higher cosmic order, leading artists and creative minds to explore the topic of the planets. Our fascination with the stars and yearning for the endless depths of space has not left us today, as Thomas Ruff's commanding large-format photographic works make tangibly clear. Like no other artist, he explores the limits of visual conceivability, or – to put it another way – the invisibility of the celestial bodies, a topic probed in his series “Sterne”, “Cassini” and “m.a.r.s”.


In comparing the universal Baroque imagery and contemporary photography of celestial bodies, the exhibition reveals an anthropological constant: our lingering excitement and awe at the secrets of space, despite the Enlightenment and modern sciences.

ein Kupferstich mit den Porträts von Friedrich August von Sachsen und Maria Josepha von Österreich
© SKD, Foto: Herbert Boswank
Johann Friedrich Wentzel, Friedrich August von Sachsen und Maria Josepha von Österreich Feder und Pinsel


Die Publikation zur Sonderausstellung

Constellatio Felix

Die Planetenfeste Augusts des Starken anlässlich der Vermählung seines Sohnes Friedrich August mit der Kaisertochter Maria Josepha 1719 in Dresden (68,00 €, ISBN: 978-3-95498-083-3)


Sponsored by: A. Lange & Söhne

weitere Ausstellungen

Further Exhibitions


in Residenzschloss

Portrait eines Mannes mit Hut und Vollbart
14/09/2016 —22/01/2017
Fotografie des Arbeitszimmers von Albert Einstein
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