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Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery)

The young Johann Wolfgang Goethe was enraptured by his visit to the Dresden Gemäldegalerie: “My amazement was beyond words!” He saw the masterpieces when they were still exhibited in the Johanneum, densely packed with three rows of paintings hanging one above the other. Nevertheless, the collection that he admired consisted of more or less the same selection of works that are presented in the Semper Building today. The amazement and astonishment of the visitors has not changed since Goethe’s time: year after year the Gallery attracts more than 500,000 art lovers from all over the world.

  • Altäre und Andachtsbilder von Dürer bis Raffael, Interimshängung der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Raum 1 im Semperbau am Zwinger, Foto Herbert Boswank © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden 
 - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.
  • Blick in die Interimshängung der der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Raum 5,  Semperbau, Europäische Renaissance-Portraits, Foto Herbert Boswank © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden  - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.


With master works including Raphael’s "Sistine Madonna", Giorgione’s "Sleeping Venus", Correggio’s "Holy Night", Cranach’s "St. Catherine Altar", Vermeer’s "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" and Bellotto’s views of Dresden, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister enjoys a reputation that is international in scope. Other widely-known paintings by such artists as Van Eyck, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Murillo, Canaletto, Tiepolo, Raeburn and Graff lead visitors to in-depth contemplation. Indeed, the collection of the Gemäldegalerie is a rare treasure trove. The collection is housed in the gallery building next to the Zwinger. Rebuilt after the Second World War, the structure was originally erected in 1855 following Gottfried Semper’s plans, and it was one of the most important museum projects in 19th-century Germany.

The Gemäldegalerie welcomes more than half a million visitors each year –
a number that is still on the rise. Today’s building code and technological requirements have made a complete overhaul of the building necessary: the required emergency exits must be created, barrier-free access must be ensured, serious structural-physical, climatic and technical issues need to be corrected and the infrastructure must be made more functional. In the long run, both visitors and the artworks will greatly profit from the renovation.

  • Altäre von Correggio bis Murillo, Interimshängung der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Raum 10 im Semperbau am Zwinger, Foto Herbert Boswank © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden 
 - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.
  • Empfindsamkeit und Aufklärung, Interimshängung der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Raum 23 im Semperbau am Zwinger, Foto Herbert Boswank © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden  - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.


The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and our partner Sächsisches Immobilien- und Baumanagement SIB, who will carry out the stage-by-stage renovation in the years to come, would like to thank our visitors for their cooperation and understanding during the construction period. While one half of the Semper Building will be modernized, the other half will be in operation as a museum. To further increase the visitor experience and at the same time facilitate a new encounter with familiar works, a completely new hanging of the paintings was devised in 2013. In the future, no visitor will miss out on any of the collection’s key works.

The new museum circuit leading visitors through 23 halls is based on the understanding that European art history can be read as one integrated historical narrative. The categorization into different schools may reflect a traditional art historical principle but it is not the only way of reading our artworks. In this way, new focal points emerge, emphasizing, for
instance, the European portraiture of Dürer’s day, altar works from around 1500, Mannerism, Caravaggism, European still lifes of the 17th century, or art from the Age of Enlightenment. Comparisons across national borders suggest themselves in ways previously invisible at the Gemäldegalerie.