Featured objects from The Tradition of the Avant-Garde

Featured exhibition objects from The Tradition of the Avant-Garde: Bohemian Glass of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

  • Artwork
    In 1835, a high-level diplomatic meeting was held near the village of Priesten/Pøestanov in northern Bohemia. Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, Czar Nicholas I of Russia, and King Frederick William III of Prussia were in attendance, as well as many aristocrats from these countries. They had gathered to set the foundation stone of a monument that would commemorate the bravery of the Russian army during the battle of Kulm/Chlumec in 1813. In this battle, during which tens of thousands of soldiers were killed, the combined forces of Austria, Prussia, and Russia defeated the French army. This was a major step toward the end of the Napoleonic era in Europe. The inauguration ceremony for the monument stressed the theme of friendship between nations, which was eagerly sought all over Europe after a long period of conflict. The general desire for peace, which was strong and long-lasting, was essentially reflected in the Biedermeier style from 1815 to the 1860s. The meeting of the three national leaders was itself memorialized in many ways, including a series of outstanding glass goblets. Six of these goblets are known today. They combine various glass decorating techniques in a highly skillful manner, demonstrating the advanced state of Bohemian glassmaking about 1835. The Kulm Goblet shows the coats of arms of the Austrian emperor (the double-headed eagle with sword, scepter, and imperial globe), the king of Prussia (framed by “wild men”), and the emperor of Russia (the double-headed eagle with scepter and imperial globe, and Saint George on the shield). The reverse is engraved with the panorama of the “laying of the foundation stone and consecration of the Russian monument near Kulm, September 29, 1835,” as noted in the inscription.