Alte Pinakothek

Around 700 works of European painting from the 14th to the 18th centuries are exhibited in the Alte Pinakothek. Many of these - including works by Albrecht Dürer, Peter Paul Rubens and Leonardo da Vinci - belong to the best in the world.

Rooted in the “Kunstkammer” (a cabinet of art and curiosities), today’s “Alte Münze” in Munich, which was commissioned by Albrecht V, Duke of Bavaria and built by Wilhelm Egckel between 1563 und 1567, the House of Wittelsbach presented their rich store of art treasures throughout the centuries in numerous newly-built galleries at their royal residences. The gallery in Düsseldorf, which was commissioned by Johann-Wilhelm II, Elector Palatine and the Grand Gallery at the New Schleissheim, commissioned by Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria Palace and characterised by French influences, both attained a high degree of fame. The Pinakothek (today: Alte Pinakothek), contracted by King Lugwig I of Bavaria, was opened in 1836. With the Alte Pinakothek, architect Leo von Klenze set new, pathbreaking standards: the imposing galleries, lit by large skylights, and the accompanying smaller galleries on the north side, were to have a decisive effect on other European museum architecture. Heavily damaged during the Second World War, the Alte Pinakothek was rebuilt by Hans Döllgast in 1957. Rather than simply reconstructing numerous sections of the façade, they were replaced with bare brickwork as visible “wounds”. In so doing, the museum serves as an architectural example of post-war reconstruction.

Visitors to the Alte Pinakothek will have to face the temporary closure of sections of the popular paintings collection over the next few years. The lighting in the building, designed by Leo von Klenze as a naturally-lit museum, has to be modernised; at the same time the building is to be renovated to meet today’s energy efficiency requirements. Defective windows are also to be renewed. The overall cost will be around 12 million euros. Work will be carried out over a four-year period and divided into different phases so that it will be possible to keep extensive areas of the Alte Pinakothek open at any one time. The first rooms will be cleared starting February 17, 2014.

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