Young Scientist Explores the History of a Hidden Art Treasure

TU Bergakademie Freiberg doctoral student Yaman Randani examines the glass beads
Although they are small, they have a lot of history packed into them – special glass beads from the 18th century. They can be found on the tapestries of the "Red-Gilded Audience Room" (Ger.: “Roten Schmelzzimmers”) in Arnstadt's New Palace. A doctoral student from Freiberg is now investigating them.

Yamna Ramdani studied geology in Algiers and has been a PhD student in mineralogy under Prof. Gerhard Heide (at TU Bergakademie Freiberg) for the last year. As preparation for her doctoral thesis, the 25-year-old studied geology and mineralogy at TU Freiberg. In this course, students learn about the properties of crystals, minerals and glass, and how their chemical composition can be analyzed in the laboratory. The young scientist is now applying her knowledge to a very special cultural treasure.

Research is being carried out on the "Schmelzzimmerbahn Nr. 7 (Ostwand), motif colonne tore mit Frucht- und Blumengirlanden" (Red-gilded audience room panel no. 7, east wall: Flared pillars with fruit & flower garlands motif), provided by the Schlossmuseum Arnstadt (Arnstadt’s palace museum). Ms. Ramdani will analyze the technical material composition of the glass beads attached to the panel, which arrived in Freiberg on 29 August. The aim of the investigations at the Freiberg Institute of Mineralogy is to find out what kind of glass the cylindrical beads from the Red-Gilded Audience Room are made of, where the material used comes from and which technologies were used for their production. The first computer tomographic images already enable statements to be made about the geometric composition of the beads and the quality of the glass.

Headed by Prof. Gerhard Heide, the Institute of Mineralogy at TU Bergakademie Freiberg is supporting the Palace Museum in Arnstadt as a project partner in the development of a concept for the digitalization of the unique wall panels in the Red-Gilded Audience Room. In cooperation with the textile restorer Supianek-Chassay, the artistic treasures are to be preserved for posterity. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of their funding of research and development projects for the digitalization of cultural heritage objects, or "eHeritage".

History

The Red-Gilded Room in Arnstadt's New Palace was decorated in the 18th century, and probably served as an audience chamber. The original wall coverings bear witness to the exclusive furnishing fashions of the European nobility. Only five other wall coverings of this type are known worldwide – the "Strohzimmer" (Straw Room) in the Fasanenschlößchen (Little Pheasant Castle) near Moritzburg, in the magnificent bedroom of the hereditary prince of Baden-Baden in Rastatt Favorite Palace, in the glass bead cabinet of the Chinese Palace in Oranienbaum near St. Petersburg, as well as in the Löwenburg near Kassel and Waddesdon Manor in England.

Ansprechpartner: 
Prof. Gerhard Heide, Tel.: +49 3731 39-2665