Old Masters on the Move

Gallery view, Upper Gallery rooms, Room V

© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, Photo: Elisabeth Greil


Old Masters on the Move

Alte Pinakothek
Upper Gallery rooms


New Presentation of the Permanent Collection

In rehanging the permanent collection display, about two hundred paintings have changed places. Throughout the Upper Gallery rooms, they now engage in new encounters opened up by unexpected contexts. Featuring dialogical juxtapositions and thematically arranged clusters of works, the new display invites visitors to rediscover familiar masterpieces.

For the first time in the history of the Alte Pinakothek, the traditional hanging scheme, developed along chronological and geographical lines, was consciously challenged, resulting in a considered reordering of the display. Many of the museum’s best-known works, previously shown in separate galleries far apart from each other, are now direct neighbours, despite belonging to different epochs and styles. Their unusual juxtaposition reveals hidden parallels and directs our attention to rarely thematized connections and shared qualities. This opens up new perspectives on the paintings and their creators, on the content and form of the depictions as well as on the contexts in which they were produced.

Dialogical juxtapositions and thematical arranged clusters of work

Many of the new constellations give rise to broader thematic groups that not only reflect key genres in painting – history painting, portraiture, landscape, and still life – but also underscore recurring compositional devices and narrative structures and illustrate prominent motifs: for example, the relationship between interior and exterior space, the monumental draped figure, lighting effects, Marian images and scenes from the life of the Virgin, the female nude, the discourse between man and God, or representations of violence and suffering. Occasionally, questions of execution, such as colour or brushwork, also come into focus. These thematic clusters result in some unexpected pairings, for example: Dürer and Botticelli, Pacher and Ghirlandaio, Perugino and Bellini, Grünewald and El Greco, Tintoretto and Goltzius, Titian and Hals, Velazquez and Van Dyck, Murillo and Rembrandt, Koninck and Lorrain, Tiepolo and Boucher.

Study gallery for art education

The unbroken relevance of the themes and imagery of the Old Masters comes to the fore in the last room of the exhibition, which has been installed and furnished as a study gallery for art education, allowing workshops and learning events to be held in the middle of the gallery for the first time. This gallery features a selection of paintings hung very densely and low to the ground, making them particularly accessible to families and children. Under the heading “Discovering the Present in the Past,” the gallery directs our attention to life in earlier times, to people’s desires and interests, and to their role in society and the family.
A range of educational resources and events is on offer, packed with insights into the rehanging of the collection. Especially on weekends, visitors can join short guided tours or swap ideas with museum docents and guides as part of our “Kunstauskunft” programme. Also on offer are family art workshops held in the galleries themselves, as well as guided tours with, for example, the head of each collection as they discuss their favourite pairings of artists.

Impressions | Old Masters on the move