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Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Even back in 1768, Wolfgang von Goethe enthused about the halls of the Old Masters: "I entered this shrine, and my amazement exceeded any preconceived idea!" Since Goethe's day, the significance of the works has hardly changed, and they continue to meet with as great an appreciation: The Gemäldegalerie has hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world every year.

Most of the principal works on display were collected within only five decades. Systematically, the Saxon Elector and later King of Poland August the Strong (1670-1733), and especially his son August III (1696-1763) expanded the collection of German and Netherlandish Masters held by the Kunstkammer. Until the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, their agents acquired 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century works from all over Europe.

Starting in 1747, the collection was presented to the public at the so-called Johanneum, the former electoral stables. About a hundred years later, it received a suitable home that also accommodated its steady growth: Gottfried Semper, the architect of the royal opera, known today as the "Semperoper", erected a gallery building at the Zwinger, neighbouring the opera, which still houses the Old Masters today.

Portraitansicht eines Mannes mit Pelzmütze, langem Bart und Mantel
Jean-Étienne Liotard, Selbstbildnis in türkischer Tracht, 1744/45
With war fast approaching, the gallery was closed in 1939. It was possible to evacuate the majority of the works and thus they remained unharmed - nevertheless, the collection suffered some war losses and the whereabouts of several works remain unclear. At the end of the Second World War, most paintings - like the holdings of many other museums - were taken by the Red Army to Moscow and Kiev. When it was established in 1955 that the art treasures would gradually be returned to East Germany, the heavily war-damaged gallery building was reconstructed and reopened. The Semperbau has been undergoing extensive renovation since 2013, which will be concluded in 2019 with a grand reopening of the entire Gemäldegalerie.


Museum's collection
Jan Vermeer. The Procuress
Jan Vermeer
1656, 143×130 cm
Jan Vermeer. Girl a letter at an open window
Jan Vermeer
1650-th , 83×64.5 cm
Raphael Santi. The Sistine Madonna
Raphael Santi
1513, 269.5×201 cm
Pinturicchio. Portrait of a boy
1500, 35×28 cm
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Portrait of young laughing woman, possibly Saskia van Uylenburg
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
1633, 52.5×44 cm
Jose de Ribera. Holy Inessa
Jose de Ribera
1641, 152×203.5 cm
Jan Vermeer. Girl with a letter at an open window. Detail
Jan Vermeer
Giorgione. Sleeping venus
1510, 108×175 cm
Peter Paul Rubens. Hero and Leander
Peter Paul Rubens
1605, 128×217 cm
Anthony van Dyck. Portrait of a lady in black
Anthony van Dyck
126×92 cm
Paolo Veronese. Finding Moses
Paolo Veronese
1560-th , 178×277 cm
Peter Paul Rubens. Leda and the Swan
Peter Paul Rubens
XVII century, 122×182 cm
Lucas Cranach the Elder. Portrait of the Duchess Katharina of Mecklenburg
Lucas Cranach the Elder
1514, 184×83 cm
Jean-Etienne Lyotard. The Chocolate Girl
Jean-Etienne Lyotard
1745, 82.5×52.5 cm
Jan van Eyck. The Dresden triptych. Central scene: Madonna with child
Jan van Eyck
1437, 27×21 cm
Jean-Etienne Lyotard. Selbstbildnis in türkischer Tracht
Jean-Etienne Lyotard
1746, 60.5×46.5 cm
Peter Paul Rubens. Mercury and Argus
Peter Paul Rubens
1638, 63×87 cm
Anthony van Dyck. Portrait of a knight with a red bandage
Anthony van Dyck
90×70 cm
Jan van Eyck. The Dresden triptych. The virgin and child with saints George and Catherine
Jan van Eyck
1437, 993×275 cm
Franz van Miris the Elder. Love letter
Franz van Miris the Elder
1671, 29.5×24 cm