Old Masters Gallery, Dresden – Virtual Tour
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister ( Old Masters Gallery) in Dresden, Germany, has a collection of over 1,500 paintings from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
It includes major Italian Renaissance works as well as Dutch and Flemish paintings. Outstanding works by German, French, and Spanish painters of the period are also among the gallery’s attractions.
The collection is located in the Semper Gallery, the gallery wing of the Zwinger.
Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces by Italian painters such as Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, Correggio, Tintoretto, and Guercino are displayed.
The collection contains a large number of 17th-century Flemish and Dutch paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Jordaens, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. Outstanding works by German, French, and Spanish painters are also among the gallery’s attractions.
Paintings from the 19th century onwards are displayed in the New Masters Gallery (Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister) in the Albertinum.
Virtual Tour of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
- “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” by Johannes Vermeer
- “The Chocolate Girl” by Jean-Étienne Liotard
- “The Prodigal Son in the Brothel” by Rembrandt
- “Painter in his Studio” by Gerrit Dou
- “The Painter in his Studio” by Adriaen van Ostade
- “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael
- “The Procuress” by Johannes Vermeer
- “The Tribute Money” by Titian
Highlights Tour of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
“Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” by Johannes Vermeer depicts a young blonde girl standing in the light of an open window, reading a letter.
A red drapery hangs over the top of the window, which has opened inward and which, in its lower right quadrant, reflects the girl’s mirror image.
A tasseled ochre drapery in the foreground right, partially closed, covers part of the room in which she stands. Highlighted by the light from the window are the fruit in a tilted bowl, the luxurious carpet, and the peach, which is cut into half.
“The Chocolate Girl” by Jean-Étienne Liotard is a portrait of a neatly dressed serving maid as she carries a tray with a porcelain cup filled with chocolate drink and a glass of water.
While the tray is reminiscent of Japanese lacquerware, the cup is in the Chinese porcelain style. The picture is almost devoid of shadows, with a pale background, the light being furnished by windows reflected in the water glass. T
his masterpiece is painted in half-tones and perfect modeling using pastels on parchment. The young maid’s eyes are downcast, waiting patiently for a signal to advance.
The girl’s headdress is representative of the colorful regional caps in Europe. A white shawl covers her shoulders, and a pleated linen apron tied around her waist reaches down over a long blue-grey satin skirt, whose folds glisten.
The artist Liotard painted “The Chocolate Girl” in 1745, during his stay in Vienna at the court of the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia.
“The Prodigal Son in the Brothel” by Rembrandt depicts the extravagance of the prodigal son, as told in the Biblical parable.
The son has asked his father for his inheritance, and this painting shows him squandering his fortune. In the Protestant contemporary Dutch world, the theme of the prodigal son was a popular subject for works of art due to its moral tale.
The people in the painting have been identified as Rembrandt himself and his wife, Saskia.
“Painter in his Studio” by Gerrit Dou depicts either Rembrandt, who was Dou’s teacher, or it is a self-portrait.
The artist is presented as a learned and well-educated painter who has surrounded himself with attributes of the science and arts.
Gerrit Dou was the founder and head of the group of “Leiden Fine Painters.” The Fijnschilders (literally “fine-painters”), were Dutch Golden Age painters, from about 1630 to 1710.
“The Painter in his Studio” by Adriaen van Ostade depicts a painter sitting with his back to the viewer, in a dilapidated studio. The painter seated in a low chair while working at an easel, supporting his brush-holding hand with a maulstick.
In the background, a young apprentice is assisting him by grinding and mixing colors on the table at the far wall.
The studio is full of references to his education and intellectual interests, including prints, a plaster cast, a wooden model, props, animal skulls, and books.
“Sistine Madonna” by Raphael depicts the Madonna, holding the Christ Child and flanked by Saint Sixtus and Saint Barbara. The group stands on clouds before dozens of obscured putti, while two distinctive winged putti rest on their elbows at the bottom of the composition.
The winged angels beneath Mary at the very bottom of the picture are famous in their own right. Their image has been highly marketed and has been used in postcards, wrapping paper, and many consumer items.
The angels of this type are known as putti and are commonly conflated with and erroneously referred to as cherubim. The image of these putti has inspired legends of their own.
According to legend, when Raphael was painting the Madonna, the children of his model would come in to watch. Struck by watching the children’s posture and faces, he added them to the painting as he watched them.
Another story claims that Raphael was inspired by the children he encountered on the street when he saw them looking wistfully into a baker’s shop window.
“The Procuress” by Johannes Vermeer depicts the procurement of mercenary love in a contemporary Dutch setting. It was Vermeer’s first genre painting, focusing on the everyday life of ordinary people.
A soldier in the red jacket is fondling the young woman’s breast and dropping a coin into her outstretched hand.
The woman in black clothing is the procuress, after whom the painting is titled. The procuress or a madam is the one who procures women for money.
The man to the side wearing a black beret and a doublet with slashed sleeves is probably a self-portrait of Vermeer. In the painting, Vermeer’s character is as a musician, in the employ of the madam, he carries a cittern as his musical instrument.
The then 24-year-old Johannes Vermeer created this 1656 painting. This scene, which may be set in a brothel, differs greatly from his biblical and mythological scenes.
“The Tribute Money” by Titian depicts the Pharisee, who asks Christ whether it is right to pay tax to the Romans, who rule Palestine. Christ, sensing a trap, asks whose likeness and name are on the coinage: “They say unto him, Caesar’s.”
The painting shows Christ and a Pharisee at the moment in the Gospels when Christ is shown the coin, and he says “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Titian painted at least two versions on this subject. The first version in 1516 which is now in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden. Titian’s later composition, in 1540, is exhibited in the National Gallery.
In the first version, Christ is about to touch the coin, and in the later version, Christ is pointing to the heavens.
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
- Name: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
- English: Old Masters Gallery
- City: Dresden
- Country: Germany
- Opened: 1855, as the Neues Königliches Museum (New Royal Museum) in the Semper Gallery
- Type: Art Museum
- Location: Theaterplatz 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Map for Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Dresden Old Masters Pictures Gallery
- The Pergamon Museum
- Neues Museum
- Altes Museum
- Alte Nationalgalerie – National Gallery (Berlin)
- Bode Museum
- Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
- Spy Museum Berlin
- Jewish Museum, Berlin
- Deutsches Historisches Museum – German Historical Museum
- DDR Museum
- German Resistance Memorial Center
Begegnungen – Encounters. In Dresden
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
German Proverbs and Quotes
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
– Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Photo Credit: No machine-readable author provided. Fb78 assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]