Ever since its foundation in 1830, the Gemäldegalerie’s collection has been developed with a systematic and scholarly eye to the history of art. This consistent and continual survey of European painting from the 13th to 18th century is the basis for both the world-class reputation that the gallery enjoys today and the many incomparable masterpieces that it contains, dating from all key art-historical epochs.
A complete tour of the gallery stretches to just under two kilometres, taking the visitor through some 72 main galleries and intimate small side-rooms, which act as windows onto the constantly shifting terrain of the history of Western art. Core focal points in the collection are German and Italian painting of the 13th to 16th century and Netherlandish painting of the 15th and 16th century. The collection of paintings from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance ranges from the great Italian masters Giotto, Fra Angelico, Raphael and Titian to the richly detailed pictures of Pieter Bruegel, via the Flemish master Jan van Eyck and the most notable figures in early German painting of the Gothic and Renaissance periods such as Konrad Witz, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein. The gallery of Rembrandt’s works occupies a central role in the museum, which is reflected by the central position it commands. With some 16 works by the artist, the Gemäldegalerie presides over one of the largest and most exquisite Rembrandt collections in the world. It is enhanced by a number of other paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists of the 17th century. An array of portraits, genre paintings, interior scenes, landscapes, and still lifes are a vivid reflection of the way artists in this golden age of painting specialized in repeatedly depicting certain subjects. The splendid collection of Italian, French, German, and English 18th-century painting includes works by Canaletto, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Antoine Pesne, and Thomas Gainsborough.
Approximately 1000 masterpieces are on display in the upper galleries at any one time. They are complemented by an additional 400 pictures on show in the study gallery on the lower-ground floor. Supplementary information on the works is provided in the collection catalogues and at computer terminals which feature a digital gallery that can be explored in English, French, and German. In addition, audio guides are on offer in German and English.
Old Master Paintings
The paintings in the collection have been on show in their present home at the Kulturforum since 1998. The design proposals for the Gemäldegalerie’s new building were submitted in an architectural competition in 1986, with the contract awarded to the architects Hilmer & Sattler the following year. With distinctly Prussian austerity of expression, the simple building rises above the sloping piazzetta, while inside its individual galleries are grouped around a light-filled central hall. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent remerger of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in 1991, the Gemäldegalerie was expanded with the addition of a study gallery.
Admission Ticket: 10,00 / 5,00 EUR; Area Ticket: 12,00 / 6,00 EUR
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