The museum quarter in Munich houses 3 different painting galleries: Old Pinakothek (13th to-18th century), New Pinakothek(19th century) and Modern(20th century). All of them worth to be visited but due to limited time we choosed one to see it properly. If you plan to visit more than one buy the day pass to save some euros.
Alte Pinakothek (Old Picture Gallery) is really old, dates back from 1826 when it was erected to house Last Judgment (Rubens 1617), a huge painting that you can still enjoy here (hopefully there weren’t many visitors around so we had all the time we needed to check it from distance but also go closer for the details. The collection is really rich with about 800 european paintings from 14th to 18th century, some of them are world’s master pieces but still you have to choose or read your homework before you visit the museum so to focus on specific pieces and maximize the pleasure.
First we visited the Flemish section (16-18th century) where you can see a huge collections of the baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens(1577-1640), apart from the large one that I mentioned we focused on the rape of the daughters of Leucippus (1617) a masterpiece for sure, I would visit this museum just for this anyway! Rubens made a lot of history paintings but also portraits, landscapes and some animal/mythological paintings, Lion Hunt is also one that worth to be seen. Among the other painters don’t miss The Land of Cockaigne (1567), a funny comment on sloth and gluttony by the renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel(1525-1569)
Then we checked some German paintings, the Battle of Alexander at Issus is a masterpiece of Albrecht Altdorfer (1529), Altdorfer is famous as founder of western landscape art. We also saw paintings by Albrecht Durer(1471-1528), we loved his self-portrait and late gothic painter Stefan Lochner(1400-1452)
From early Netherlandish and dutch section(15-18th century), you can see paintings of D.Bouts, F.Hals, P.Lastman, R.Weyden, C.Fabritius, G.Terborch and many others. There’s a small piece of Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) called Fragment from the Last Judgment, everything that came out of his weird fantasy is a must but of course his masterpiece (the garden of earthly delights) is in Prado, Madrid.
Italian paintings (13-18th century) take big part of the museum with works by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and many others but we didn’t have time and skipped this section.
Finally we checked the Spanish section of the pinakothek, Velazquez and El Greco are some famous ones but what we loved most were the paintings of the baroque painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), although his famous for some religious painting I love the ones that focus on daily scenes, poor children, beggars, street girls etc Children Playing Dice and Beggar boys eating Grapes and Melon are amazing paintings.
Pic 1 Lion Hunt (Rubens, 1621)
Pic 2 side wall of Alte Pinakothek
Pic 3 Children playing dice (Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1665-1675)
Pic 4 The Sacrifice of Isaac (Rembrandt, 1636)
Pic 5 The rape of the daughters of Leucippus (Rubens, 1617)
It’s open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-18.00 (Tuesdays till 20.00)
The entrance fee is 7 Euro(Sundays 1euro only) or you can buy the day pass (12 euros) that include the 3 pinakothek museums, museum Brandhorst, and Sammlung Schack
The audio guide was useful if you want to know more about artworks that you are not familiar with, unfortunately they didn’t include all the paintings.
This is the museum that features art works/paintings from 1500-1700's. There are many famous painter works featured inside, with Rubens, Raphael, Brueghel, and Cranach being a few coming to mind.
The artpieces were a collection of many rulers/kings/Dukes of the times. It started with Wilhelm IV in the 1500's and continued through the ages as the collection grew from a variety of purchases and conscript works. Because of the period, about 3/4 of the works of art relate to religion and scenery.
It is open 10-6 daily except for Monday when closed. Admission is 7 Euro
This is an important and exciting collection of over 800 European paintings from the 14th to 18th centuries. German, Flemish, Dutch, Italian, French and Spanish paintings are all well represented.
In my first photo, the painting on the right is Christ and Magdalena, from the year 1590, by the Italian (Umbrian) painter Federico Barocci (1526-1612).
Second photo: The extensive collection of 17th century Flemish paintings includes two rooms devoted to the works of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). The one on the right in my second photo is his Martyrdom of St. Laurentius.
Third photo: Another Rubens painting is this one of the condemned descending into hell: The Fall of the Damned from 1620/21. This is his interpretation of the words of the Judge of the World according to St. Matthew's Gospel (25, 41): "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Fourth photo: This painting by the Spanish painter Bartolomé Estéban Murillo (1618-1682) is a good illustration of what nit-picking is, in case you have ever used this expression (meaning the habit of paying too much attention to small and unimportant details) without stopping to think of its origin. A nit is the egg of an insect, usually a louse, that is sometimes found in people's hair, and the woman in the painting is doing what all parents have done at one time or another, namely searching her child's hair for these tiny white dots. (Famous last words: "It could never happen to my child." Ha, ha.)
Fifth photo: The painting in the center is the Death of Celopatra by the German Baroque painter Johann Liss (1597-1631). Liss was quite a traveler, by the way. Between 1614 and 1619 he was in Haarlem, Amsterdam and Antwerp, and after that he traveled via Paris to Venice. From 1622 he was in Rome, and at the end of the 1620s he returned to Venice, where he died of the plague in 1631.
Since its opening by time of Ludwig I, this building off Neue Pinakothek is the main old painting museum here. As in the other building, the collection inside is superb too. Here you find galleries devoted to flemish, french, german, dutch, spanish or italian paintings since XIIIth century to XVIII. The Renaissance and dutch collections are fantastic. There are paintings by Durer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Giotto, Holbein, Cranach, Fra Angelico, Lippi, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, Raphael, Tintoretto, Vasari, Halst, Boucher, Brueghel, Velazquez, Murillo, etc. etc.
A curious thing to see is the facade of this building, for it shows better than others the scars of war. The facade shows two different tones, two different construction materials: the older zones are stoned but others are made of brick which contrast and gives an idea of the original devastation provoked by bombing in WWII. Simply astounding.
The place is relatively small, and the 2 wings could be covered in an afternoon, or even 2 hours if one does not linger too long before the old masters. The west wing houses old German masters. The east wing contains all other European old masters, including 3 big rooms of Reubens' work!
The souvenir shop in the west wing sells mostly work in the German language; the east wing cafe serves relatively good food.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) lived in Flanders (Antwerp). He is a Baroque painter whose uotput was enormous and in every genre: religin, mythology history and propaganda were all his specialties. He was tremendously popular and developed a large studio of assistants and apprentices to help him accomplish his commissions, But he was extremely particular about quality and conception. So much so that e often hired very accomplished independents to do parts of his works (especially for animals and still-life effects). These are frequently identified in today’s museums. He was a man of the world and served as a secial diplomatic agent (ambassador) but was also a family-man. Most prominent in his work are voluptuous and very active nude females who appear in various degrees of controlled abandon, which were very popular, but in his many personal works he is very effective but not very introspective. One always feels good when looking at a Rubens. Thr Bavarian rulers of this time and after were very taken byhis work, had lots of money to buy them and as a result the Pinakothek has the largest Rubens holdings in the world. Be aware that the large room which contains his work also contains other contemporary masterpieces by others.
Besides painting Durer was expert at woodcarving and etching. He also executed fine nature studies in water color and sketching. The printing press had just come into use and he recognized the salability of works for the masses at modest price, so he is one of the earliest masters in this "mass-produced" art. The museum has more than you could assimilate. Unfortunately they are all behind glass in lighting not designed for photography; so some are not entire but I hope sharp. I left out the most famous ones. This something one rarely encounters in large numbers.
In 1500, there was a host of great painters at work in many locations over Europe. In Bavaria, the most eminent was Albrecht Durer(1471-1528). Maximilian I (1597-1651) was a fanatic collector of Durer's work believing him to be the greatest in the world (arguably a good bet) and as befits a German (Bavarian) Museum, here is a stupendous collection. In his 20's Durer travelled twice to Venice and interacted with Giovanni Bellini (which benefitted them both). Acid was thrown over his greatest works here by a psychotic in the 1980's, and their restoration is a marvel (partly due to an immediate chemical response by the curators). Church paintings, portraits and personal religious works were a painter's stock in trade in 1500 and Durer's work is most incisive. Do you think his self-portrait was the model for his Jesus? The painting of the "4" Apostles exists as two panels and also a synthesis in a group setting. He must have received a commission and ran off the two versions.
The Galleries are one of the top dozen Art Museums in the world. As befits a Great Bavarian Museum, it houses the largest collection of the works of a great native: Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), arguably the equal of the greatest talents of his period in Europe. (See our Associated Tip on him and his works). Coincidentally it also has the largest collection of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens (see our Tip on him too). Centering on the year 1500 the Germanies had a host of adept painters at work and the Pinakothek has a fine collection of their works. They are not as richly represented elsewhere and this is an opportunity to see them alongside contemporaries from nearby Flanders and Holland. We illustrate 4 of them here.
The Alte Pinakothek is one of three museums in Munich's Kunstareal or Art Area, the others the New and Modern Museums covering 19th Century and Modern Art respectively. The largest number of paintings derive from the collections of the Wittelsbach dynasty, avid art collectors dating back to the 16th Century. King Ludwig I (1825-48 commissioned the building of this two story museum to consolidate the Wittelsbach holdings and specifically to house the massive Judgement Day by Rubens. Built between 1826-36, it was heavily damaged in WWII, it was opened in the 1950's.
The schools represented include German, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and Spanish painters from the 13th thru 18th Centuries. The list of masters represented reads like an All-Star team of the greatest artists in history, hardly worth repeating here. The Rubens collection is the largest in Europe, dominated by the Last Judgement, one of the largest oils ever painted. Paintings of both his wives are included as well. The Annunciation, one of the most fertile legends for Italian painters (I love Annunciations), is represented by a lovely Fra Fillipo Lippi and there are several works by Beato Angelico including the Entombment of Christ. Albrecht Durer"s self portrait and his remarkable Four Apostles are displayed - the latter is of special interest. Rather than idealizing the Apostles, they look like four guys you might be seated near at a local pub, a remarkable painting. There are over 800 paintings on display. 2047 characters do not allow space to detail all the great works of art here - enough to say we had to be thrown out at closing time after three enthralling hours.
The Alte Pinakothek is a world class museum. We found it nearly deserted even on a Sunday afternoon when admission is only 1 Eu. The audio guide ( free during the week when admission is 5.5 Eu but 4 Eu on Sunday PM) is comprehensive and indispensable -highly recommended. If you have any interest in great sacred, mythologic, and master art, DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM.
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