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

renata K (16 months ago)
Great place. Everyone should visit if you like art. I loved it and the paintings are like wooow.
Rianda Rizza (17 months ago)
Worth every 1 EUR spent. On Sunday it's 1 EUR admission fee. The vast collection of paintings is remarkable. Some Rembrandt paintings are on exhibit. The down side of the gallery is the lighting. The reflection on the painting or the painting glass cover makes it difficult to enjoy the detail. I think art gallery should always use artificial lights instead of natural.
Dzmitry Cheban (17 months ago)
The lighting of the paintings is awful.. One can barely see the paintings through all the glare. The collection is absolutely marvelous and worth seeing! I would definitely recommend visiting Alte Pinakothek. But don’t forget to grab a bottle of water with you, because the air there is overwhelmingly dry.
Yin Chen (17 months ago)
Huge selection of 16-19th century art that will keep you busy for hours, but there are plenty of couches for you to rest throughout the museum. Unfortunately I'm not very knowledgeable about these styles of art so I felt a bit overwhelmed and lost but someone who likes art museums would definitely enjoy it. Entrance is one euro on Sundays. Backpacks and medium sized purses are not allowed, but can be checked.
K. Doyle (17 months ago)
Our experience was not particularly nice. The collection is absolutely great. However, my mother has a torn ligament in her knee and we asked about a chair that she could carry around. We were informed that all chairs are taken. We were offered a wheelchair. First, my mom needed to wait (standing) till the queue is served. Then she got the wheelchair, but she needed to leave her ID, which she didn't take. So I gave mine. Then we asked where is the lift and were shown to the right. We went there, but the lift brought us only to the shop. We went through the shop (with the wheelchair) only to realise that this lift does not bring you to the exhibition, which is on another floor than the shop. So we came back to the lift and went down. The other lift on the right side was broken. So we went to the left side of the cashiers. It turned out that to reach the lift we need to go on stairs!!! Approximately 10 stone stairs. I was trying to pull my mom's wheelchair on those stairs, ridiculous... Thanks be to God that my mom herself could walk, because I could not pull her on the wheelchair, I'm a small woman! Then we needed to roll the wheelchair through the entire cafeteria and reached the left lift. We went up and what did we see? 3 chairs folded at the lift. We could have saved ourselves 20-30 minutes of time had we known that. We were shocked to find out what kind of ordeal a really disabled person would have in the Pinakothek if they would want to come there alone.
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