Alte Pinakothek

Munich, Germany

The Alte Pinakothek (Old Pinacotheca) is one of the oldest art museums in the world and houses one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings. The name Alte (Old) Pinakothek refers to the time period covered by the collection—from the 14th to the 18th century. The Neue Pinakothek covers 19th-century art, and the recently opened Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits modern art. All three galleries are part of the Bavarian State Picture Collection, an organization of the Free state of Bavaria.

King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1825–1848) ordered Leo von Klenze to erect a new building for the gallery for the Wittelsbach collection in 1826. The Alte Pinakothek was the largest museum in the world and structurally and conceptually well advanced through the use of skylights and the convenient accommodation of northern lights for the cabinets. Even the neo-renaissance exterior of the Pinakothek clearly stands out from the castle-like museum type usual in the early 19th Century. It is closely associated with the function and structure of the building as a museum. Very modern in its day, the building became exemplary for museum buildings in Germany and all of Europe after its inauguration in 1836, and thus became a model for new galleries in Rome, St Petersburg, Brussels and Kassel.

The museum galleries were designed to display Rubens's 'Last Judgment' (1617), one of the largest canvasses ever painted. The museum building was severely damaged by bombing in World War II but was reconstructed and reopened to the public in the late 1950s. The ornate, pre-war interior including the large loggia facing the south façade in the upper floor were not restored. A new wall covering was created in 2008 for the rooms on the upper floor of the Alte Pinakothek with a woven and dyed silk from Lyon. The new color scheme of green and red draws on the design of the rooms, dates back to the time of construction of the Alte Pinakothek and was predominant until the 20th Century. Already for King Ludwig I and his architect Leo von Klenze the use of a wall covering alternately in red and green, showed the continuation of a tradition that dates back to the exhibition of the old masters of the late 16th Century in many of the major art galleries in Europe and there exists to this day.

The museum is under the supervision of the Bavarian State Picture Collection which also owns an expanded collection of several thousand European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries. Especially its collection of Early Italian, Old German, Old Dutch and Flemish paintings is one of the most important in the world. Among other masterpieces The Madonna of the Carnation, a.k.a. Madonna with Vase or Madonna with Child, by Leonardo da Vinci is displayed at the Alte Pinakothek.



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Founded: 1836
Category: Museums in Germany
Historical period: German Confederation (Germany)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

yan yegorov (18 months ago)
A lovely museum. I enjoyed the pre-impressionist and impressionist exhibition the most, but everything is amazing. I whouldn't try to see everything at once, because there is just so much! The art is amazing and the museum holds a lot of famous art works. The staff is helpful and the gift shop is nice. If you like classic to impressionist European art, this is a great place to visit.
Camilla Andreani (2 years ago)
Many Flemish art and Italian Renaissance painters, which I love, are on display together with a wide range of other artists and periods, from the end of Middle Ages to approximately 1800. I found very convenient the combo ticket that allowed me to visit both the Modern and the Old Art Gallery with a total price of just 12€. I had a refreshing break between the two galleries at the café of the Old one, which offered a good variety of cakes and hot drinks.
Rob Meehan (2 years ago)
Beautiful and very informative. The audio guide was perfect English and really added to a lot of the artwork. Staff were great and kept good order around the paintings. Cafe looked nice but didn't stop for food.
Heike Kegel (2 years ago)
We had a great time at the Art gallery. My mom got to see her favorite Monet painting :). Definitely worth a visit. On the weekend it is only 1 Euro entrance fee per person
Leah Day (3 years ago)
Very beautiful art museum. We enjoyed our experience. They are currently requiring a mask, vaccination record, AND negative covid Test. Because of these restrictions, it was pretty empty. We basically had the place to ourselves. We were able to purchase tickets at the door. With a 2€ deposit, we were able to use a locker in the coat room for a our bags and coats. The art was wonderful. I enjoyed some of the more fun paintings and the many by notable artists.
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