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Beneath Italian Skies

19th-Century Paintings of Italy between Claude Lorrain, Turner and Böcklin

10 February to 28 May 2017
An exhibtion by the Albertinum

During the 19th century the “land where the lemon trees do bloom” attracted numerous travellers from Northern Europe. In Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe fuelled the collective urge to travel south through his “Italian Journey”, which was first published in 1816/17. About fifteen years before, when he wrote enthusiastically about a “pure blue Italian sky“ over Dresden, Heinrich von Kleist expressed a deep yearning for the bright light of a country that was fascinating not only on account of its antique and Christian sites and its wealth of Renaissance art, but also thanks to its wild and elegiac landscapes.


With more than 120 works on display, the Dresden Albertinum is exhibiting a comprehensive retrospective of 19th-century German paintings of Italy. For the first time, the focus is on the extensive holdings of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, supplemented by first-rate works provided on loan. Paintings by German artists are presented in dialogue with works by outstanding international contemporaries such as Arnold Böcklin, Camille Corot, Johan Christian Dahl and William Turner.

  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Italienische Bucht (Italian Bay), ca. 1827/1828, Öl auf Leinwand, Copyright Tate / Tate Images
 - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Der Goldene Zweig (The Golden Bough), um 1834, Öl auf Leinwand,  Copyright Tate / Tate Images
 - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.


Many works from the Albertinum are being exhibited for the first time – in some cases following laborious restoration. The exhibition is placed in the context of earlier paintings from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, as well as antique and 19th-century statues from the Skulpturensammlung. Paintings and sculptures present key aspects of an exciting chapter of European cultural history, and through the shared perspective of visits to Italy they create an impressive panorama of 19th-century art. The wide range of these works reveals a multifaceted image of Italy during that period: from Venice to Vesuvius, from the age of classicism and romanticism to the currents of realism and symbolism, from Jakob Philipp Hackert, Ludwig Richter and Carl Rottmann to Oswald Achenbach, Adolph von Menzel and Max Klinger.

Accompanying program

A comprehensive program including lectures, concerts, film screenings accompanies the exhibition ...more

Course of lectures

In cooperation with the Italy centre of the TU Dresden a course of lectures takes place (in German) ...more

The impressive visual experiences of artists travelling in Italy in the past are conveyed to today‘s museum visitors in a way that is based both on sound art historical scholarship and also on sensory experience. The colour and light of Italy – sometimes viewed from surprising, unusual perspectives – can thus be appreciated right in the heart of Dresden, inspiring an urge to travel and exciting the imagination.

Exhibition catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, available for 39,80€, published by Sandstein Verlag ...more