Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister Dresden
(Old Masters Picture Gallery Dresden) History, Collection

Dresden Old Masters Picture Gallery.
Among the best art museums.

Gemaldegalerie SMPK, Berlin
Pinakothek Museum Munich
Kunsthistorisches Museum
Kunstmuseum Basel

Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister Dresden


Permanent Collection
Contact Details


The renowned Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister gallery in Dresden, one of the best art museums in Europe, houses one of the finest collections of Old Master paintings in the world. The museum has an extensive collection of Italian Renaissance art including works by Titian (1488–1576), Raphael (1483–1520), Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506), Antonio da Correggio (1489–1534), Parmigianino (1503–40) and Tintoretto (1518–94).

Mauritshuis Art Museum
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Hermitage St Petersburg
Tretyakov Gallery Moscow
Prado Museum Madrid
Guggenheim Bilbao
Reina Sofia, Madrid

For news of any major exhibitions
being held at the Alte Meister
in Dresden, Germany, see:
Art News Headlines.

The gallery also owns important 17th century Dutch Baroque artworks by etcher and painter Rembrandt (1606-69); Flemish Baroque artists Van Dyck (1599–1641), Rubens (1577-1640) and Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678) and landscape painter Jacob van Ruysdael (1628–82). The collection is housed in the Semper building which was built in 1855 on the grounds of the 'Zwinger' Palace. The Zwinger is considered one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Germany and the grounds are an oasis for visitors to Dresden. The young author Goethe (1749-1832) exclaimed 'my amazement was beyond words' when he viewed the collection for the first time. The collection he admired then is more or less the same that visitors enjoy today – and enjoy they do! Nearly 500,000 art lovers from around the world visit the Alte Meister collection every year.

British Museum
National Gallery London
Courtauld Gallery
British Royal Art Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Pitti Palace, Florence
Uffizi Gallery Florence
Vatican Museums
Doria Pamphilj Gallery
Sistine Chapel Frescoes
Raphael Rooms (Vatican)
Capodimonte Museum, Naples
Louvre Museum
Musee Conde, Chantilly
Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts
Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts

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See our guide to the art of
Painting (oils/watercolours), or
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Printmaking (etching/lithography).


In 1560 the Kunstkammer of the Electors of Saxony was founded and tasked to start collecting important pieces of art and other curiosities of science. Although some pieces in the Alte Meister collection today are from this time, it was not until the middle of the 17th century that it truly began to grow. The systematic collection of Old Masters began under August the Strong, (1670–1733) and was continued under his son August III (1696–1763). While most paintings were purchased from sellers all over Europe, others were 'appropriated' in a less transparent manner. For example, Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man in the Hat Decorated with Pearls (1667) and Portrait of a Rabbi (1657) were both snatched from the Royal Castle at Warsaw in the 18th century. In 1746 the collection was expanded overnight with the acquisition of 100 masterpieces from the Duke of Modena's private collection. It was crowned in 1754 by the purchase of Raphael's Sistine Madonna. In 1855 a new home was built to house the burgeoning collection in the grounds of the Zwinger Palace. The new gallery was designed by the architect Gottfried Semper, and the collection has remained there nearly ever since. During the Second World War the paintings were temporarily put in storage and fortunately survived the infamous bombing raid of February 13, 1945. Unfortunately both the Zwinger and Semperbau buildings were destroyed during the bombing but they were rebuilt a decade later. Meantime the occupying Russian army confiscated the collection and took it back to Moscow and Kiev. The treasures were returned to Germany in 1955-56. Although some art works were missing or destroyed, the majority were in good condition and were returned to the newly rebuilt Semperbau.

The Permanent Collection

Raphael: The Sistine Madonna and her Angels (1513-14)

Probably making the list of the top 10 greatest paintings ever, Raphael's Sistine Madonna and two little cherub angels has become one of the most reproduced posters in the 21st century. The cherubs were first marketed in 1803 and were soon being copied and painted on porcelain and jewellery. In the 1850s they were a popular motif on bed sheets and stitching pictures which were hung on walls. Today, their image has been elevated to pop culture status through constant reproduction on literally thousands of consumer goods from chocolates, glossy prints, cups, t-shirts, cookie tins, greeting cards and websites. Commissioned by Pope Julius II, The Sistine Madonna was the last painting that Raphael completed with his own hand. It was temporarily exhibited in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow in 1946 after confiscation by the Red Army. But, like the rest of the collection, it was returned to the German people after the death of Stalin in 1955.

Lucas Cranach Collection

The gallery owns one of the largest collections of paintings by both Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) and Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515– 86), in addition to other pieces from their studio. There are 58 paintings by father and son in the collection. Many of the works are portraits which offer a glimpse of living history, from German Medieval art (800-1250), thru the German Renaissance (c.1430-1550) to German Baroque art (1550-1750).

Panel paintings by the Cranachs in the collection include:

Lucas Cranach the Elder
- St Catherine Altarpiece (1506)
- Portrait of Henry the Devout of Saxony (1514)
- Portrait of Katharina von Bora, Wife of Martin Luther (c.1525)
- Judith Victorious (c.1530)
- Eve (1531) and Adam (1531)
- Portrait of Martin Luther (1532)

Lucas Cranach the Younger
- Samson and Delilah (c.1537)
- Portrait of Christiane Eulenau (c.1534)

Other works on display include 2 genre paintings by Jan Vermeer of Delft (1632–75), a particular attraction as there are only about 35 known works by Vermeer in the world today. These Dutch Realist genre paintings are: Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window (c.1659) purchased by the gallery in 1742, which is contained within a gilded rococo frame, now known as the 'Dresden Gallery Frame'; and The Procuress/Matchmaker (1656) a picture set in a brothel.

The gallery also houses paintings by French painters such as classical artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) and landscapist Claude Lorrain (1600–82); as well as Spanish Baroque painters, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617–82) and tenebrist and caravaggist Jusepe Ribera (1591-1652). See for example The Deliverance of St. Peter from Prison (1642) by Ribera.

Other Masterpieces in the Collection

- Giorgione: Sleeping Venus (1508)
- Titian: The Tribute Money (c.1516)
- Rubens: Hercules Drunk, Led Away By a Nymph and a Satyr (c.1613)
- Anthony van Dyck: Portrait of a Commander in Armour w. Red Scarf (1625)
- Francisco Zurbaran: Saint Bonaventure at Prayer (1628)
- Nicolas Poussin: Pan and Syrinx (1637)
- Rembrandt: Portrait of a Rabbi (1657)

Contact Details

Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister
Semperbau am Zwinger
Theaterplatz 1
D - 01067 Dresden

00 49 (0) 351 4914-2000

Opening Times
Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 6pm, Closed Mondays.


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