The Lower Saxony State Museum comprises the State Gallery (Landesgalerie), featuring paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, plus departments of archaeology, natural history and ethnology. The museum includes a vivarium with fish, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods.
The predecessor of museum ran out of space for its art collections, prompting the construction of the current building, on the edge of the Maschpark, in 1902. It was designed by Hubert Stier in a Neo-Renaissance style. The cupola above the central risalit was destroyed by Allied bombs during the war. Extensive renovations and modernisations were carried out in the building's interior from 1995 to 2000.
The State Gallery features art from the 11th to the 20th centuries. The collection includes German and Italian works from the Renaissance and the Baroque, 17th-century Flemish and Dutch paintings, Danish paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries (e.g. Constantin Hansen), and a print room featuring old German masters, Dutch drawings, 19th-century printworks, and drawings by German Impressionists. Some of the best-known artists include Rembrandt, Rubens and Albrecht Dürer.
The gallery's other strengths include German and French Impressionist paintings, works by Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt, and major works from members of the Künstlerkolonie Worpswede group, such as Bernhard Hoetger, Fritz Overbeck, Otto Modersohn and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Caspar David Friedrich's four-piece Tageszeitenzyklus (The Times of Day) is the only complete such series by Friedrich in a single museum.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.