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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.