Dresden is a magnificent city to explore in eastern Germany with interesting history, and beautiful architecture. I have been through Dresden twice, and it primarily was to visit the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, or the Old Master’s Gallery, to see one of my favorite works- “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael. Although my main focus in visiting Dresden was the glorious art works inside the Old Master Gallery, I had fallen madly for the city’s architecture.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is located inside the aristocratic Zwinger Palace, which is an impressive palatial complex with gardens in the heart of Dresden. The Neo-renaissance/ Baroque palace was completed in 1728 and is one of the most significant Baroque structures in Germany, as well as being the most famous building in Dresden.
As with much of Dresden, the Zwinger had been reconstructed due to the Carpet Bombing Raids in February of 1945, which destroyed the majority of the city. The painstaking reconstruction was supported by the Soviet military administration, which began in 1945 and then by 1963 the palace had largely been restored.
During the war, as with many museums in Europe, the art collection inside had been evacuated and stored safely. Today the Zwinger once again houses glorious works of art inside the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, one of Germany’s finest art galleries.
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister displays approximately 750 paintings by Old Masters from the 15th to 18th centuries; including major Italian works, Dutch, Flemish, German, French, and Spanish.
The impressive collection houses one of my favorites since the 1990’s, the “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael. Twenty five years ago I was obsessed with the cherubs at the bottom of the painting, and was not aware at the time that it was part of a larger masterpiece. The whole painting is stunning, and I made it a point that it was the first thing I viewed when I visited the gallery.
There are other fine Old Masters who are displayed here such as Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, and another of my favorite, Johannes Vermeer. The Old Masters Gallery inside the Zwinger was another phenomenal art museum in Germany, and I certainly recommend the visit if you are in the beautiful city of Dresden.
Enjoy your visit to Dresden!
For visiting information, days and hours – Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
For my blog on Dresden and additional information – Visiting Dresden – ‘The Jewel Box’ | Discovering Germany
Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere…– Peter O’Toole
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