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 art lovers from all over the world.
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.
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. 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.